Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"1 (Lyrics)
Jeremiah 1:6-8a – "Ah, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I don't know how to speak; I am only a child." But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' … Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you." (NIV)
I was always very apprehensive about speaking — in school, for instance, in front of the class, and in public. Later, as a young lad at the youth group or at catechism class at the church, I was always afraid that the leader would ask me a question. During my working career on big pipeline projects, I quite often had to give verbal financial reports. It really worried me, and I was always very nervous. It took me a very long time even partially to get over it. During our years in Europe, I became quite involved in the activities of the international churches that we attended, but having to give a speech was always a strain.
When we returned to our home town many years ago, we attended a Bible study on the fruit of the Spirit, led by the minister of the church, the Reverend Ian Raeburn-Gibson. During these studies, it was determined that I should be able to lead a worship service, which I did. I was nervous, but it went well, and consequently, I was asked to lead services in different churches. I also got involved in services and Bible studies at the local long-term care centre. Thinking back, I remember how nervous I was, and how surprised I was that I was able to do this. I still am!
There were several people in the Bible who were also loath to speak for various reasons. Jeremiah was one of them, and Moses was another. He had been looking after his father-in-law's sheep in the wilderness of Horeb. At the burning bush, the Lord told him to go to Egypt to negotiate the release of the Hebrew slaves, but he had all kinds of reasons why he could not do that. Finally, when he had run out of excuses, in desperation, he made his final plea:
Exodus 4:10b – O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue. (NIV)
But the Lord told him that he was to go and that his brother Aaron could do the talking for him. Later, we read about Moses quite often speaking himself to the people on their way to the Promised Land. Apparently, he got over his anxiety; he must have been really surprised!
Do you feel inadequate or insecure about doing some of the things that are asked of you to do in church and to help spread the gospel? Perhaps, God might find a way for you to do it, and you, too, might be surprised. After all, do not be afraid, for God is with you.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are times when we are afraid to speak to others about faith in You and what that means in our lives. We ask for guidance during those difficult times. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.