The bell rang, break was over. It was time for period 3, Afrikaans. My hands were clammy and my heart was racing. ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this’, I chanted over and over again in my head as we lined up outside Mrs Hamiltons classroom. “Single file” she demanded as she directed us into her classroom. I put my head down and walked slowly into the room, heading for a desk right at the back. It was oral day. And my aim was to hide. Mrs Hamilton was a short little lady, about mid-fifties, with grey bouncy hair. Her stern and strict demeanour took no nonsense from these rowdy high schoolers. Her frowned face suggested that we ought to keep quiet and get on with the schedule for the period. She called out learners name by name, one by one, to start telling their story. I hid my head low, and held my breath as if that would make me invisible.
“Lombard” she called. She worked through her list by way of alphabetical order. I sat there working out the ratio of how many more names would be called before mine vs how much time was left for this period. “Loots, Malan, Malherbe, Meyer.” I was next. I cringed. And held my breathe a little longer, praying that the bell would ring, desperately pleading that the Lord would save me from having to stand in front of thirty fellow pupils and speak. Out loud. In a language that I could hardly articulate.
“Miller!” rolled out of her mouth like a red carpet of terror inviting me to walk down its threads with trepidation and tears.
That’s me. I screamed, silently.
A warm sensation rose up in my chest and my hands began to shake. I grabbed my essay and walked towards the front of the class, muttering the same words under my breath that I did an hour before – “I can’t do this, I can’t do this!”
Exodus 4:10-13 – “But Moses said to the Lord, “But Lord, I am not a skilled speaker. I have never been able to speak well. And now, even after talking to you, I am not a good speaker. I speak slowly and can’t find the best words.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who made man’s mouth? And who makes him deaf or not able to speak? Or who gives a man sight or makes him blind? It is I, the Lord. Now go! I will help you speak. I will tell you what to say.” But Moses said, “Please, Lord, send someone else.”
I’ve pleaded with the Lord, ‘send someone else’ more times than I can count. My unadventurous nature seeks comfort and proceeds with caution at all times. To me, adversity and risky adventures are one and the same and I avoid it at all costs.
I assume that Moses had a similar outlook on life. His first response to Gods call was dread and doubt. He allowed his past experiences (Exodus 2:12) to determine his future. He deemed himself unworthy and therefore, he remained unwilling to respond to Gods call on his life.
Fear and failure have a sneaky way of creeping up on us in the exact moments that we attempt to be brave. We pluck up the courage to move forward and press on, we will ourselves into persevering through the fear but we fail and fall. We succumb to the stresses of life and believe the lie that the enemy whispers in our ears, ‘you, are not good enough.’
Too often, we allow the voice of the enemy to distract us and send us on a detour. We allow our fears to direct our path and pave the way forward for us. And then we wonder why we’re left feeling stuck, unmotivated and distracted.
The thing about fear is that it comes neatly packaged and wrapped in comfort and convenience. But when we untie the red ribbon, we expose it for what it is: a lie.
Moses was restricted by his own insecurities because he refused to rest in Gods capablilities.
“I can’t do this Lord, I’m too young. I can’t do this Lord, I’m too busy. I can’t do this Lord, I’m not equipped. I’m not clever enough, Lord. I can’t do this Lord, I’m not ready. I can’t do this Lord, I’m not the right person. Please Lord, send someone else.”
These are all the excuses I have thrown Gods way.
I wonder if you have any excuses that you have thrown Gods way?
Or if you are believing any lies about yourself?
The enemy uses lies to distract us from Gods plan for our lives. He weaves his web of lies over our minds and before we know it, there’s a cluster of lies built up in our hearts. The only way to get rid of those lies, is to demolish them with the truth of Gods Word.
We overcome our fears by resting in who God is. We rest in His faithfulness, His provision, His covenantal promises, His salvation, His protection. We rest in the character of who God is and not the constraints of our insecurities.
Moses asked God the wrong question. Moses asked, ‘Who am I?”
Gods calling on our lives is all about Him. It’s not about us.
The question we need to ask ourselves is not ‘What can I do?’ but rather ‘What can God do?’
The mantra we need to start chanting is not, ‘I can’t do this’ but rather, ‘He can do this!’
Gods promise throughout His Word is that, no matter what, He will be with us.
I so often wish that I could encourage my sixteen year old self with this message. So today, I would like to encourage you:
He will be with you!
God will always find a way to display His glory – whether we want to be a part of it or not. The mystery is found in the invitation that God extends to us. He hand picks us. He choses us to partner with Him in this profound privilege. He asks us to take up the task and follow Him and live a life of obedience to the call He has on our lives.
What lie has taken hold of your mind?
What is your biggest fear?
Do you easily say ‘yes’ to a challenge?
What hesitation do you have that holds you back from pursuing more of God?
Is your first response to serving in Gods Kingdom the same as Moses: ‘send someone else, Lord?’
What promises do you need to start believing so that God can bring healing over past hurts?
Is there something specific that you feel God encouraging you to do or get involved in?
Have you been accountable with these fears?
Jeremiah 1:4-8 – “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations. ”Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth. ”But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
Isaiah 41:10 ESV – “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 43:2 ESV – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
Matthew 28:20b ESV – “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Genesis 28:15 ESV – “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV – “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 ESV – “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Dueteronomy 31:8 ESV – “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
John 14:27 ESV – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”