Worship leader, guitarist and recording artist Phil Wickham has had to cancel multiple performances due to a vocal chord irregularity. Thankfully, his doctors say it was caught in time to most likely be reversed without surgery. Unfortunately for Phil, what the doctors are prescribing is very difficult in his line of work.
What exactly have the doctors ordered? Total silence. No singing or talking at all. Phil is uncertain of just how long it will take for the problem to heal. He says it could be two weeks, two months or longer.
One of the performances that was cancelled was at Mariners Church worship center, and they asked him if he would write a letter explaining what was going on, and join the leaders on stage for a time of prayer. This is what Phil had to say:
"Let me start by saying how truly honored I am to have been asked to be a part of this gathering of leaders. My heart was full at the thought of lifting up a song of worship with you all, and having to bow out has been very frustrating to say the least.
While leading worship last weekend on a tour through New England, my vocal chords hit a wall. I felt a drastic change in my voice, and I knew something wasn’t right. It was like a guitar with broken strings. I knew where the notes should be, but they just weren’t there. We cancelled the following shows, and I had to wait several days until I could see a doctor and get some answers.
In the unknown of what was to come my reaction was one I wouldn’t have expected. I would have guessed fear, or frustration. Maybe even desperation. But it wasn’t those things. I felt lost.
I realized right then how closely I tied my own worth with my voice. My worth as a provider. My worth as a leader. My worth as a person. Though now it sounds a bit melodramatic, I sat silent alone in my hotel room that night wondering, “What am I worth without a voice?” “Who am I without it?”
After seeing a specialist this morning we found out there is an irregularity on my left vocal chord that was most likely caused from overuse. Thankfully, they believe we caught this early on enough that it can most likely be reversed without surgery. The only way to reverse it is total silence. No singing. No talking. The silence could be two weeks, two months, or longer.
So I’ve been quiet now since Saturday, and you can imagine how the last 5 days have pretty much been just a wild series of nods, shakes, and gestures. It’s amazing how difficult it is to get the salt passed in your direction when you can’t talk.
It’s also been a lot of listening. I’m starting to feel like I haven’t been listening enough because I feel like I’m hearing a lot more lately. The Lord has been speaking to me profoundly. I feel so at peace. So loved. Moments of fear are quenched with a thought of the cross. Moments of anxiety vanish in the whispers of His grace. And I am thankful for it.
In light of the theme of this conference it seems a strange coincidence that I would lose the very thing I wrap my identity around. And since I don’t really believe in coincidence then maybe there’s something more here to be said. I think I’m learning something about identity, which weaves into calling which then becomes our legacy.
I wonder if I have been finding my identity too much in the means and not enough in the end. I am learning that our biggest and brightest identity is one that we can’t ever lose. Voices, platforms, people, buildings, beauty, skills, relationships, Life… they can come and go. But our identity as a forgiven child of God, our identity as part of the redeemed bride of Christ. This our my capitol “I” Identity. This is the one that we will always have. This is the One that will define us forever. May we not define our worth by the praises of men, or the breadth of our influence. God defines our worth by running to us as he did the prodigal son, and wrapping us in His arms. And in this worth, in this identity we find our calling: to love Him who first loved us in such a way that it spills out of our hearts, lips, hands, and feet. In living out this calling, we have certainty that our legacy will be a joyous and eternal one. Amen!
I am now literally excited, like I’m on the edge of my seat to see what God is doing and watch what HE is going to do through this time. I humbly ask for your prayers. Prayers for healing. Prayers of wisdom for the doctors. Prayers for my wife, Mallory, who has been a champion among champions in this whole situation, and for my two baby girls to help them understand why daddy can’t read them any books right now.
I love you all and pray from the bottom of my heart that God fans a flame in your soul to step into your identity, chase after your calling, and leave an eternal legacy for Him. May his Spirit fall fresh and powerful upon you all. Bringing light to dark places, and water to the dry places of your souls. Grace and peace! Amen!"
Phil's Prayer request is up on the Hope Wall at www.chvnradio.com. We encourage you to visit the hope wall and pray for Phil and his family during this challenging season.