Good morning. A little update on my throat: There’s been little to no healing progress the past few days. Still can’t swallow without grimacing, and my voice barely cracks gravel. Usually I just whisper (doesn’t hurt as much, even though its supposed to be worse for your throat). A normal (short) conversation wears me out and causes a lot of pain. So that’s been discouraging. Please pray for me.

But yesterday our family crashed the pool at Shauna’s parent’s hotel, and while I sat there watching my kids thrash, giggle, splash, and ripple, I had a realization that’s worth sharing. So here it is.

Because I can’t speak, my kids can’t really hear my voice. Even when I’m trying to talk, the sound is so faint that they can’t really make it out unless they combine what they’re hearing with some lip reading. My first application was parental, not spiritual: You know how it’s polite to look at someone when they’re talking to you? And how our kids tend to forget that? And end up ignoring us or tuning us out? And how, over time, you end up raising your voice more and more to get their attention?

Well, I can’t do that. And so, wonder of wonders, my kids are looking at me more when I’m trying to talk. Looking TO me more. They’re reading my lips. Watching my hand gestures, taking in my facial expressions, trying to feel what I’m feeling, putting clues together. I’ve been snapping my fingers when I want their attention. Or clapping loudly when they need to stop doing something immediately.

Now: Notice this: Even though I can’t use words as often, I don’t want my kids to interpret that to mean that I have less to say. The fact that they’re looking to me more means they understand that. They don’t assume that just because I’m not speaking, that what’s on my mind is less important. Or that the gestures somehow don’t carry as much information as words do. Notice that the messages behind the signals are still clear.

And it’s exactly like this with God. When God lowers his voice, or decides not to use words, it’s because he doesn’t just want us to LISTEN to him, he wants us to LOOK to him. To read his lips. His gestures. A Psalm says, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered in shame.” Amen.

We should not assume that when God wants us to look to him instead of listening to his voice that he has less to say. Or that the messages are somehow less clear. Sometimes gestures say more than words do, more profoundly. I have said “I love you” with words far less often the past few days—and given out affectionate, passionate hugs way more than usual. The message is still loud and clear. What’s interesting is that they in turn have started using hugs, gestures, and their faces more to communicate BACK to me. Something about a human tendency to try and speak the same language as others.

So in the next week or so, don’t just listen to God. Look to him as well. That sunset he pointed out, that email from a loved one, the friends he has around you—those are gestures, and they speak a thousand words.