I Have a Voice

At the climax of the movie The King’s Speech, King George VI is finally goaded by his unconventional speech therapist into declaring, “I have a voice!” —a turning point in his battle to overcome stuttering and effectively lead his country in wartime.

I suppose there is a sense in which we all have to discover that we “have a voice”—that we have something to say that is worthy for the world around us to hear and take note of. To speak up for someone who cannot speak up for himself, we have to find a voice and use it courageously. To speak out on matters of justice and mercy and righteousness, we have to find a voice and use it humbly. To give God the praise he is due we must find a voice and use it unashamedly. When the Pharisees wanted Jesus to silence those who were praising God with a loud voice upon his entry into Jerusalem he said, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

When I heard Colin Firth as King George VI declare in frustration, “I have a voice,” I couldn’t help but think of something Bob Kauflin said in his message, “Words of Wonder: What Happens When We Sing” at the Desiring God 2008 national conference. I’ve been thinking about ever since he said it:

The question is not, “Do you have a voice?” The question is, “Do you have a song?” If you’re redeemed by Christ’s cross then you do have a song.

It would seem that saying, “I have a voice” is mostly about my ideas, my rights, my place in this world, harnessing my own power, and asserting my own opinion. But when I say, “I have a song,” it is about celebrating the unfathomable grace and mercy of God that sought out and saved a sinner like me. It is about inviting him to wield his authority in my life, seeing myself in light of his place in this world, proclaiming his power and greatness, and allowing his truth to reshape my entrenched perspective and overrule my strong opinions.

How is it that “Bertie” was finally able to speak and shout and find his voice? It was by venting the hurt, frustration, and anger he had stuffed deep down inside his princely decorum over a lifetime of silence. This venting gives the film its R rating. But what must I relinquish to give voice to a song? I must let go of pride that keeps me concerned about the quality of my voice more than the glory of my Savior. I must let go of self-obsession that centers most of my thoughts and words around me and my concerns and my agenda. I must steward the voice that God has given to me to declare his glory among the nations, in my city, and in my home, and even inside my own head. Surely he is worthy of my highest and purest and strongest emotions that simply must give birth to song.

I have a voice. But more significantly, I have a song. “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Ex 15:2).

  • http://www.crosswayma.org Bauer

    Thanks Nancy, for sharing this.

    Your ministry thru your writing has served me personally and our church family too.

  • http://webutante07.blogspot.com Webutante

    Very well-said, Nancy. We must release the pain in our hearts before we can be filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s a piece The Church so often glosses over. I am a Nashvillian who used to go to David Filson’s church.

  • http://www.lrb.org.za Gareth

    Indeed we do have a song. We have a voice and a mandate.

  • a silenced voice

    Dear Nancy,
    Enjoyed this post very much. You say “I have a voice, but more importantly I have a song.” So true. But imbedded in the statement is your confidence that you have a voice, and that is not true for everyone. The application of the movie in my heart is to assist those who know the song, but do not yet believe their voice can be used to sing it … those trapped in shame, or those who have been told by churches/church leaders that their voice doesn’t count because of gender or because they are part of the “laity.” We are all singers, but not everyone believes they are, and freedom must come.

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  • EMSoliDeoGloria

    @a silenced voice…

    Well said. Sometimes just exercising our own voice is a help to those who are still silenced.

    Me, sometimes I sing all the louder. and sometimes I still feel silenced… But I’m growing all the more confident that God is at work – the little things can make such a difference…

    The other day, for the first time ever, my small group leader asked me to pray aloud for the needs of the group – well, he actually asked if my husband or me would pray, but I went ahead (being male, my husband gets asked all the time)… and I sensed just a little reassurance from God that He is fighting my battles for me. Although my husband knows how much it hurts that I’ve never been asked, I hadn’t ever mentioned it to our small group leader, so it really felt like a gift from God to be not just permitted but asked to use my voice to serve the group and lift our needs up to our Father…