Ephphatha. What a cool tattoo that would be. I’ve often thought of getting a tattoo. As a 48-year-old woman, it might be that prospective tattooed coolness has passed me by. My kids might be mortified, and my husband mystified, but how cool “Ephphatha” would be! What a conversation starter!
I picture it going this way: I’m in line at the grocery store, a hardened atheist waiting in front of me. Clueless about the Word of God, he innocently and unsuspectingly asks about my cool wrist tattoo (or maybe it’s on my neck, gangsta-style). I deftly respond, “It means be opened.” To which he responds, “How cool is that! I agree we should all be open-minded! Where did you see that word?! Who is your tattoo artist? I must get one!
Then, one of two things will happen: I simply give him the name of my tattoo artist and hope to see him again one day unwittingly sporting the word of Christ, or I spring on him, “Jesus! Jesus said it! Jesus wants us to be open!” To which he then falls down on his face and gives his life to Christ right there in front of the Nutella shelf.
The truth is that I resist being open. I resist the Word of God. I resist it for many reasons. Being open is awkward, and it often means trusting other people with your story. It means making yourself vulnerable to new relationships and having uncomfortable conversations in a kind and loving way when you simply don’t want to do so. It means learning to discern the difference between a receptive heart and pearls cast before swine. It means risking rejection, and sometimes no relationship at all seems better than even the possibility of rejection.
But when we are open, God is faithful. When our trust in his Word is revealed in our actions, his love is revealed in our lives.
And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
— Mark 7: 32–37
For many years, the Lord tried to lovingly loosen my tongue, but I evaded his effort. His closeness and hs request caused great fear in me. But, due to his unrelenting love, I finally gave in and allowed God to use my story for his glory. And it has been glorious.
Is God trying to use your story? Are you evading the awkwardness? Are you trying to stand just slightly out of God’s reach, so that he can’t touch your soul and loosen your tongue? Is the dark safer than the light?
In him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
— John 1: 4–5