September 22, 2008

Well, the wedding a rich occasion. The bride glowed. The husband gushed. The father of the bride welled with pride. The congregation sang and smiled heartily. Oh, and I spoke through a cold.

Thankfully it didn’t sound too bad during the service. But as soon as we were done, my voice cracked. By the Saturday evening I was virtually speechless. By the Sunday morning I was speechless.

So what do you do when you are meant to be preaching on Sunday morning but have no speaking voice? How do you communicate when your sentences emerge as a combination of muffled, monotone groans and voiceless wheeze?

  • You pray hard. Hard.
  • You stick a towel over your head and inhale hot steam.
  • You sip honey, gargle salt water, take paracetamol, and anything else you think might help.
  • You ask your fellow pastor to lead the service to save your voice for the sermon.
  • You drive to church, sit silently in the vestry, and don’t sing a word of the hymns – inwardly praying, praying, praying.
  • And then you trust in the Sovereignty of God, open your mouth and speak.

(Photos by Andrew Robertson)

ps. ‘Miraculously’ my voice held together, even though it was several tones lower than normal. I had my best half an hour of the day, that half hour. Imagine that…



  1. I remember reading that John Stott once battled with a very heavy cold during a university mission, I believe in New Zealand. He was very concerned that he could not communicate well, because his voice was so damaged and he couldn’t express himself or emphasise things as he wished. Years have shown however, that some of those talks through which he ‘rasped’ the gospel, were some of the times when he was most used to bring people to Christ!

  2. It’s really important to rest your voice as much as possible until it has recovered. Long-term damage to the vocal chords can be caused otherwise.

  3. Far more importantly – way to go Becky!?

  4. This past week, I struggled with strep throat (diagnosed the Monday after the Sunday I preached twice, plus taught two classes). Saturday night was rough, but God brought me through the sermon with great strength of voice. (Plus, three weeks prior, I woke up on a Sunday morning with a stomach virus, but God brought me through that one as well. When I said the “Amen” after my sermon, I about collapsed. I slept from 1 p.m. Sunday until 2 p.m. Monday.) God carries His ministers along for sure.

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