6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
By Pastor Vivian
I have been a pastor at LifeJourney since June 19th, 2011; a little over 9 years. And even today after all these years, I have a fear of being on stage. When Pastor Jeff asks me to preach, my first response is “No, thank you!” Fortunately, or unfortunately, he never lets me get away with that. When I have to preach, do announcements, pray, or celebrate communion, I ask God to accept my fear as a sacrifice of worship. And God is faithful. Sure, I trip over my words, but I get through it and most times, the congregation doesn’t sense that my heart is pounding.
When I was 17, I became disenchanted with church (believe me I had my reasons) and didn’t come back to church for 25 or 30 years. I attended funerals and weddings, but did not attend a church on a regular basis. I finally found my way back and had been attending church for a few months when one of the Deacons approached me and asked if I would go with him to a Women’s Prison the very next day. He said that I would be expected to say a few words and mingle with the inmates. I agreed; to this day, I don’t know why.
On my way home, I had a very emotional and intense conversation with God. I said that I had no idea what I would say to those women; that I was so newly back at church, I couldn’t even speak intelligently about the things of God. And on and on, ending with I never should have agreed and I should call the Deacon and say I can’t make it.
At the time, as a part of my daily devotions, I was reading through the Bible in one year. I got up before I went to work and opened my Bible to the passage for the day. It was Jeremiah 1 and the section I am using for this Be Still felt as if God was speaking to me personally when I read it. While Jeremiah was speaking of his chronological age, I interpreted it to mean “Do not say that you’re newly back at church.”
I went to the Women’s Prison with the Deacon and used my fear and God speaking to me through my devotions as my talk to show the faithfulness of God. It was well received by the women and we had good conversation after. Since then, I’ve given my fear to God and, as I said, God has been faithful.
These are tense and troublesome times, and we need Scripture that we can stand on. “Do not be afraid” or “Fear not” is in the Bible between 60 and 90 times depending on the translation. I believe that it is there for a reason. God wants us to trust and not be afraid. The psalmist says “Therefore we will not fear…even though the mountains crumble into the sea.”
The assurance we have is that the Creator of the Universe walks beside us. God’s promise is to strengthen us and keep us. Blessed assurance.
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
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