I don’t expect God to ever speak to me in an audible voice. But if he does, I’m convinced he will sound like the legendary stage and screen actor, James Earl Jones. Talk about a set of pipes! I used to get chills just hearing him do the CNN station identification. I honestly think he could read my wife’s grocery list and make it sound like a Shakespearean soliloquy.
What most people don’t know is that James Earl Jones is a stutterer. Even more amazing is the fact that, for about eight years, he was virtually mute.* Who would have guessed during those years of painful silence that his voice would one day become perhaps the most famous in the world?
Pick up any old high school yearbook and you’ll find a person dubbed “Most Likely to Succeed.” I’ve often thought it would be interesting to do some research and find out how many of those honorees ended up being far surpassed in terms of accomplishment by people like James Earl Jones who weren’t expected to amount to anything. I suspect the results would be shocking.
Even in the Bible we see it. David, for example, was the runt among his brothers, the last kid anyone would have expected to grow up and become a mighty warrior and king. But that’s exactly what he did. And what about Peter? Picture him as a boy, learning to fish and cuss like the sailor he would become. Who could have imagined that he would grow up and deliver arguably the most important sermon ever preached? (Acts 2:14-41)
God offers every person a wonderful little gift called potential. He packs a million things like our eye color, shoe size, and singing voice into that tiny little DNA strand, and, in the process, infuses us with amazing possibilities. People like James Earl Jones, King David, and the apostle Peter remind us that even when a person’s potential isn’t obvious, it can still be enormous. The great challenge of our lives is to dig deep, work hard, remain steadfast, and become all that God created us to be.
For further reflection read Romans 12:6-8, Matthew 25:29, Ecclesiastes 4:13-14
*James Earl Jones, Voices and Silences (New York: Scribners, 1993), 41