Barriers to Your Words

It was a typical Sunday in the Papua New Guinean
church. People had been gathering for over an hour; the rough wooden benches were
slowly filling up. Murray had preached here many times so he knew to be patient
and he knew to be prepared for distractions. Children of all ages wandered at
will, as did a few chickens and the odd small dog. There were no walls to the
church, other than a bamboo screen nailed to the posts behind a low table where
Murray would stand to preach, so birds flew in and out, some of them squawking
as they settled into the grass roof.  
When most of the benches were full the man who had
been strumming a battered guitar nodded and Murray took his place. He spoke
slowly in Pidgin, the trade language in the country, and waited for the man
beside him to translate his words into the “Tok Ples” or village language. They
hadn’t gotten very far into the sermon when Murray noticed everyone staring at
a spot over his left shoulder. He wondered what might be happening behind him,
but continued bravely until four young men stood up and made their way to that
corner of the church. All eyes followed them. 
Realizing there was no sense in
continuing, Murray turned just in time to see one of the men wrap a large banana
leaf around the head of a boa constrictor that had begun to slither through the
bamboo screen. As the huge snake went limp one of the other men grabbed it and
pulled it through the wall. The other two stepped up to take the rest of the
weight of the snake’s huge body.
Murray turned back to his congregation. He knew
everyone was now thinking about how good that snake was going to taste. He said
a brief closing prayer and sat down.
Sometimes the distractions need to be dealt with
before any kind of communication can move forward. It’s true in our spiritual
lives, as is illustrated in the book of Matthew where we are told, “Therefore,
if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother
or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the
altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift”
(Matthew 5:23,24). 
There have been times when I’ve been blocked as a
writer because of things in my life that needed to be resolved. God cannot
speak through me when my mind, heart and spirit are distracted with unsettled
and unsettling sin. They are barriers to communication, both between me and the
Father, and me and my audience.
But there is good news … “If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all
unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Is there a snake making its way through the wall in
your life? Don’t let it become a barrier to the words God has for you to write. 
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta
Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She
was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel,
One Smooth Stone. Her
second novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short-listed in the contemporary
fiction category of The
Word Awards
Marcia also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been
endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.  
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for
writers can be downloaded here or ordered from Amazon.