Friday, October 30, 2015

But What If I Fail?

Like Helene, I don’t live in fear of external things.  (Yes, if a spider lands on me, I will run and scream like a little girl, but I can avoid the eight legged freaks for the most part.)  I teach a women’s class at a prison once a week, and I never worry about being attacked or even called names.  For one thing, there are guards watching our every move, for another I rely on God’s protection when I’m doing His work.  


While I’m not afraid for my physical well-being, I have had the same fear I’ve struggled with for much of my life – that of failure.  What if God’s plan is messed up, because I mess up? He’s given me this wonderful opportunity to minister to others.  What if I blow it?  

Have you experienced that kind of fear? It can be paralyzing, preventing us from even starting a good work. Fortunately, the Bible abounds with stories of imperfect men and women who considered God’s power greater than any weaknesses they might have. 

David was a shrimp.  Of course, all the Israelites were small next to Goliath, but the giant was particularly disdainful of this unarmored young man.  David wasn’t afraid.  He didn’t have confidence in his own rock-slinging abilities (although as a shepherd he had had much practice), but He did have confidence in God. 

And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."  

We know the end of that story.  David’s stone flew true, and Goliath was killed.  The young shepherd’s confidence in God was well founded because God’s power can overcome any weakness.

In fact, God often requires weakness so that His power is more evident.  When God told Gideon to gather an army to defeat the Midianites, he gathered around 30,000 men. Since the army they were facing was around 130,000, the battle already looked rather one-sided.  But God was not done.  He whittled the army down to 300 men, and they were victorious.  Failure was not an option because God was on their side. 

You might be thinking, “That’s fine for battles in the distant past, but I’m thinking about teaching a Bible class or leading a friend in Bible study. Can God overcome my fumbling tongue, my nervousness, my imperfect knowledge?” The answer is yes! 

God definitely showed his power in mighty ways in battles, but His Word has always been very powerful too. Remember Jonah? Dude didn’t even WANT to preach to the Assyrians, and it had nothing to do with anxiety.  He knew that if the Assyrians repented, God would forgive them, and Jonah would much rather have seen God smite them.  Three days in a fish’s belly changed his mind about obeying God, but I still wouldn’t call him an enthusiastic evangelist.  He pouted when his audience listened to him!  But it didn’t matter because God’s word was powerful.  If that power can overcome a reluctant, pouty prophet’s weakness, I’m sure it can overcome mine. 



When it comes down to it, the strength is not in my words, however perfectly or imperfectly they are spoken. The force is in God’s words. So do I need to know the Word? Yes. Do I need to know it perfectly so I can answer any question a person may pull out of left field immediately without hesitation? Certainly not.  Otherwise I would never leave the safety of my own Bible study.  

It’s time to do more than study the Bible.  It’s time for me to do the work God has set in front of me, and I’m not going to worry about messing it up.  I’m far more likely to fail by sitting in the pew day after day, quietly envious of the evangelistic giants around me. I’m going to do my best to know the Word, and then I’m going to let God use me. I hope you will join me!

Melissa

10 comments:

  1. Love this: "God often requires weakness so that His power is more evident." So true! For when I am weak then I am made strong! And love how you said it is not our words anyway, He puts them in our mouth and anoints us at the right time and place. So good! (Helene visited me this morning and I am glad I found this post!)

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  2. Great post! One that a lot of moms like me need to hear!

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    1. Oh, yes, failing as a mom has also been a fear of mine!

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  3. Good post! You're doing a great job. Who knows if you have not come to the Kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)

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    1. Terry, your encouragement has been an inspiration to me!

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  4. Wonderful post! My preschooler is currently learning many of these same Bible stories, and I'm getting the chance to see them through completely different eyes. As I teach them to her, I'm reminded that these stories are real. They aren't just nice fairy tales we learn as kids; rather they are true stories of how God showed His power through those who were weak (by the world's standards). It's rather humbling to say the least!

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    1. I've always thought we shortchange kids when we teach Bible stories as fables too.

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  5. This is a well thought out and reflective post to challenge each of us to remember the powerful truths you note here.

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