A blind man sat at the bottom of the steps of a courthouse, where he knew many regulars would stop and drop change into his old tin can. He basked in the warmth of the sun on that chilly morning. He heard the first steps in his direction. Cling. A good soul dropped a coin. He reached into the can. His fingers recognized the quarter. He heard several more steps as giggly young women walked in his direction. Their chatter turned into a silent reverence as they read his sign. Cling, cling. Several coins this time.
An hour went by without the sound of a single coin when he heard the hurried steps of a woman – the sound of the high heels giving out her slender figure. She passed him and suddenly stopped. She turned back. Then she stopped in front of him and bent down. He was startled when she picked up his sign and started writing on it. He reached out and touched her shoes as she gently put the sign back down.
What followed puzzled the old man. The noise of the hurried steps of pedestrians was muffled by the ongoing avalanche of coins. For what seemed like an eternity, the coins wouldn’t stop falling into the can as more and more people seemed to be emptying their pockets. He reached out and touched the can, realizing it was full to the brim.
Several hours went by when he heard the same familiar steps. The woman was back. She stopped and bent down again. Just to confirm that his ears did not trick him, he reached out and touched her shoes. It was her, indeed. His eyes were moist as he fought back the tears … “What did you do to my sign?” the old man asked.
She touched his arm and then his face. “I wrote the same. But different words.”
On the worn cardboard sign that once read “I’m blind, please help,” new compelling words screamed compassion to the passersby: “It’s a beautiful day … and I can’t see it.”
I found this story on an online video while doing research for one of the chapters in my upcoming book. The video was produced by an online content specialist agency from the United Kingdom, seeking to illustrate the life-changing power of our words. “Change your words. Change your world,” the company’s slogan says.
The blind man in the story was reaping meager blessings because his words did not move people’s hearts.
I believe many times we find ourselves in a similar situation. God has bountiful blessings that He wants to give us, but our words reflect a heart that is either too timid to ask or too faithless to receive.
We may recite beautiful prayers and know scriptures inside out; however, if, when the going gets rough, our words reflect a heart that wavers in trust of a God who spoke the very stars into existence, then could it be that we are the ones who often limit the scope of our gifts?
I personally don’t believe in the type of theology that says that we are to name and claim anything we want. I believe there are boundaries for our requests. And I also know that God’s ways are higher, deeper than our minds can comprehend. He doesn’t always answer our prayers for healing and deliverance in the way we think he should. Instead of moping and complaining about our circumstances, we should teach our mouths to declare our trust and faith in God. Indeed, if we want to change our destiny, how about starting by changing our words?
Patricia Holbrook is a Christian author and national conference speaker. Her first book, “12 Inches – Bridging the Gap between How You Feel and What You Know About God,” will be available in stores this summer. Visit her blog to read her devotionals at www.soaringwithhim.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org