Some people are just naturally bold.
They seem to step up when others slide back. They are willing to speak up when others quiet down.
God has given each of us a unique style and personality. Sometimes it’s tempting to use our lack of natural “giftedness” as a reason not to follow through on what God has asked us to do.
He gives us opportunities every day to shine for Him!
A Filipina sister that I met recently was confronted with an intense trial. She lives in an area of the Philippines where she is clearly a minority. She has experienced the lonely feeling of being one of the very few who are following Jesus in this predominantly Muslim area.
Not long ago, she rushed to the hospital to find that her twin granddaughters had been born prematurely. Their future was bleak. Would they survive at all? What would life be like for them if they faced a future of severe struggle and pain?
She told me that she prayed hard for the tiny girls, as any grandmother would. Then she told me that she began to understand that God called her to that hospital room at that specific time.
Then something interesting happened. As she prayed for her premature granddaughters, others began to take notice. People around her were watching closely.
At first, it may have been a bit awkward, but she pressed on. She said that she was not ashamed to pray in front of the doctors and nurses, even though they were Muslims.
As they days went on, several of the medical staff members were touched by her testimony. Then, she felt God leading her to step out even further.
She began going from bed to bed in the hospital ward asking other patients if she could pray with them. It wasn’t easy, or comfortable, but she was able to witness God at work in spectacular ways in that hospital ward!
Here are three ways that we can step up when we want to slide back:
1. EMBRACE OPPORUNITIES TO BE “STRETCHED.” Boldness is like a muscle that can be developed. The more you step out, the easier it becomes. Our faith is based on “walking by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Be willing to embrace the awkwardness, to move out of your comfort zone and watch what God will do!
2. JOYFULLY LOOK FOR “DIVINE APPOINTMENTS.” I made a new friend at a VOM Regional Conference in California earlier this year. As she scurried around helping set up for the conference, I noticed that she responded to requests for help with, “It’s my joy!” She was overloaded with joy and accepted people, places and opportunities as gifts from the Lord. Our Father cultivates deep, abiding joy within us when we accept His appointments.
3. REST IN THE HOLY SPIRIT’S PROVISION. Mark 13:10-11 is one of the most encouraging Scriptures in my life: “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” We can rest. We have the calm confidence of knowing that God will provide everything that we need in that precise moment of need. Even the very words that we speak!
YOUR TURN: What are some ways that God has helped you step up when you wanted to slide back? How can you connect with other sisters and brothers who are looking for ways to boldly stand with those who are persecuted? Click here to see if there is a VOM Regional Conference coming to your area.
Dr. Jason Peters serves in VOM’s International Ministries department, traveling frequently to meet with our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. He has ministered in 35 countries, as diverse as Cuba, India, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia and Nigeria. Before joining VOM’s team, Jason was a faculty member of the US Air Force Chaplain Corps College, where he directed Crisis and Trauma training. Jason, his wife, Kimberly, and their five children are actively engaged in standing with their persecuted sisters and brothers.