Sometimes God teaches me lessons through tears. Sometimes I have to question the most basic of things to find the most profound truth. Yesterday was one of those times for me, and in many ways I am still in the middle of it.
My partner and I had a visit yesterday that we weren’t planning on having, and I threw together a lesson as we were in route to the house. Our contact that we were meeting with accepted Christ a couple weeks ago but is still struggling to leave alcohol behind amidst a myriad of problems that are happening in his life. I gave the lesson that I knew God had placed on my heart, and then my partner continued to share from her storehouse of experiences and those of her close friends how God has redeemed hopeless and impossible situations. She presented the hard truth to him in a very direct and convicting way, and I left the visit feeling very proud of my partner and at the same time very useless.
Sometimes it is hard having a partner with such an incredible testimony and the ability to share it in a way that simply rocks the world. God rescued me from a lot of things, but in a very different way than my partner, and I have yet to find a contact where my story speaks more than hers. This position with Extreme is really the first time that I have done anything with evangelism. In the past I always waited for other people to come to me, and I am finding myself in a lot of situations where I am called to speak on things that I have studied for my whole life but have never had to actually do. In those moments, my partner generally takes the reins and does an incredible job, and I feel like an observer much of the time. I was so discouraged coming back to the house yesterday, wondering what my place is. More importantly, I was wondering what my voice is. How do I speak into the lives of people if I grew up in a good home and never experienced any of the difficult struggles that our contacts are going through?
I found my cluster support mom Amanda in the kitchen and let it all out. She continued to pour truth into my life, reminding me that I can connect with people on the most basic levels: there have been times when I too have felt hopeless and all alone. There have been moments of deep darkness in my life, and even though it may not look the same as my contacts, the feeling is the connection. She reminded me that it is not nearly as important what experiences I bring to the table as it is WHO I bring to the table: JESUS. He is the hope they need, and I know Him intimately. How I speak to my contacts and how I connect with them will be vastly different than my partner, and that’s ok. There will be situations where I might not be the one to have a voice, but there will be times in my life when my partner will not be there and I will be called upon to speak. I must learn well. There will be times when the connection I have with someone will be what they need. She said, “Never underestimate the impact of a loving presence. It’s powerful.”
As I left that conversation, I kept the door open for God to speak into the situation and the things that He told me last night and this morning simply blew my mind. The story that God had brought for me to share at the visit resonated within my heart like an echo that grows stronger instead of weaker. It is the story of Moses’ calling in Exodus 3 and 4. God showed up in a burning bush and called Moses to lead a nation out of slavery. God called on him to confront a king and demand things that would not come easily. Moses threw every excuse and doubt he had at God and time after time God answered him. Moses was afraid, and felt like he was the worst possible choice for the job. Perhaps he was. He said to God, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though You have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” God replied to him, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
I have always identified with the story of Moses because I see so much of myself in him. I don’t know how many millions of times I have said, “But, God…” It doesn’t matter what the excuse is. I’m a realist. God is not.
God reminded me that, like the story of Esther that I shared a couple weeks ago, He has placed me here for this moment and for His purpose. I was created to be here, right now. Just like He spoke a hard truth to Moses at the burning bush, He says to me, “I made you exactly like you are and I have written your story…and they are perfect for my plan for your life. Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
Yesterday I was so consumed with finding my voice. I wanted to have my special place that only I could occupy, but I had lost sight of the ultimate truth: it is not about me, my comfort, or my influence. It is about Christ and His Kingdom. Whether I feel uncomfortable or useless at a visit is entirely irrelevant. What matters is that Christ is honored and glorified and that people are coming to know Him. God told me this morning, “Your voice is what I tell you to say. Speak when I tell you to speak, and be silent when I tell you to be silent. Your voice is your obedience to My instruction.”
I was overwhelmed this morning by all the responsibilities I have this week, and wondered how on earth I would do them well. Like Moses, I wanted so badly to say to God, “But I’m not very good with words…I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” I speak all day, every day in Spanish and sometimes I wonder what on earth I am doing and saying. As I sat in God’s presence, I was reminded of this truth: “Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say. Your voice is your obedience to My instruction.” I realized that I am living a life of response, not initiation. There is not anything that can come into my life that has not passed through the hands of God first. There is nothing that catches Him by surprise. As long as my eyes are fixed on Him, I will have all the wisdom and words I need for any situation that will come. I will find all the strength I need. I may be stretched beyond what I think I can do, and called upon to act in ways that are far beyond what I think I am qualified for, but I will not break because of the One who holds me together. God’s voice thunders deep within my heart, “Now go! I have brought you here for such a time as this. This is your divine purpose: to be right here, right now. I will go with you. Now go!”
So I am learning to speak when God moves me to speak and to be silent when He tells me to be silent. I am learning that it is not my voice that is important, but rather it is His that people need to hear. I will never understand fully the reasons God does what He does or why He places me where He does, but that is not for me to know. It is mine to be obedient. It is mine to go with my eyes fixed on Christ. It is mine to live each moment remembering that I have everything I need to do His will. It is all for His glory, not mine. Jude 25 says, “All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.”