“Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe’” (Mark 5:36).

We must once and for all give up trying to be self-made individuals. Let us cease preaching by ourselves, being right by ourselves, doing good by ourselves, being sensible by ourselves, improving the world by ourselves. God wants to do everything, certainly through us and with us and never without us; but our participation in what He does must naturally originate and grow out of His power, not ours. O, how we could then speak with one another because that which is born of God overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

We need only speak with our fellow men on the basis of faith. So long as our words do not arise from faith, from our confidence in the power of God, we will be and remain mute. Only faith can speak. But faith can speak! This is how our ears must be opened and then also our mouths. So now here we stand, simultaneously deaf and mute like Zechariah. In spite of his unbelief, he was still a herald, one who waited for God. Otherwise the angel would not have spoken with him. Nor would he have become the father of John the Baptist. When everything came to pass which he could not believe and could not express, then he was suddenly able to believe and speak.

For God does not stand still when we come to a standstill, but precedes us with his deeds and only waits so that we can follow. And so we will accept—even with all that we cannot say, and with all that we have not yet heard—that we are also heralds.

Adapted from Watch for the Light by Karl Barth