This past weekend I spoke at three different churches. As I walked to the podium at the first event I started to cry when I saw the large audience. Every time I speak I am reminded of where I came from and how He uses me in spite of myself.
I was painfully shy as a child. I was so shy that I rarely spoke at school and had very few friends. I mean in order to have friends, you’ve got to communicate, right? I choose not to. From the time I was in elementary school, I would envision myself with imaginary walls all around me and I liked those walls. Well, the school thought something was mentally wrong with me because I didn’t talk. So, they put me in a class for retarded children. I know, that’s a bad word but it was the word they used for us in that class. I hated the class. I didn’t want to be in it. I knew I needed to get out– but I couldn’t overcome my fear of talking to people.
One night as I prayed and asked God to help me overcome these fears, I felt a surge of strength rise up in me. I started to read the Word, something started to burn in my heart, I couldn’t hold in. Even though I was terrified of my next words I said, “Give me to strength to overcome my greatest fear and I will speak of You forever.”
Well, I got out of that class the next day. I was only in 6th grade but I knew in my spirit that in my weakness He was made strong. The road ahead of me was terrifying, but through Him I was going to be a speaker for Him!
I’ve been speaking for Him ever since that day. You would never know it, but that introverted little girl is still inside me. Every day I am reminded of Jesus’ command to all believers to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
In order to accomplish this, we will always have to go outside of our comfort zone.
No matter what my insecurities are, this is a mandate on my life- and every Christian.
Every time I speak for Him, I am brought to tears before I speak asking (God) that He would use me in spite of my weaknesses.
Over the weekend I saw people weep as they came to Christ. People made radical decisions to turn their lives around and others wept because they finally understood how much God loved them. Oh my goodness, it was the greatest!
One of the places where I spoke had three times more people show up for the event than had registered!
At another place, almost the entire audience came forward at the end of the service for prayer and decisions.
The Lord’s presence was powerful- long after the events were over and throughout the ministry time.
Oh my, I wish I could tell you all the exciting things that happened.
In between all the great things was the traveling… A flight was delayed. The plane broke down and traveling time equaled 21 hours… There were other circumstances that must go unmentioned.
But, God did what He wanted to do in spite of me or any other circumstance! Hallelujah! That’s what I always find amazing: the harvest is great- He just needs us to “Go.” He provides everything else; the words, the ability , the power, and the conviction on the listeners.
On my way home I read the biography of John Wesley. He offered the hope of Christ to millions of people in the 1700’s. He rode by horseback a quarter of a million miles, preaching forty thousand sermons in open fields, churches, and barns. Oh my goodness, I want the Word to be like a burning fire within my bones like Wesley, unable to contain it.
With no microphone he preached in open air to thirty-two thousand people!!!
Jesus, set us on fire for You and for laboring in the harvest—for it is truly great!
Somebody asked John Wesley,
“How can you impact so many lives through the Gospel?” Wesley responded,
“It’s simple, I set myself on fire and let the world see me burning.”
“But His Word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, I could not.” Jeremiah 20:9