When God Speaks - Part V - He Provides the Courage
August 17, 2007 • By Ed Wrather
For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. - Luke 5:9-11.
Simon Peter was at times fearless and at times very fearful. Peter was fearless when he stepped out of the boat and walked on water (Matthew 14:30). Peter was fearful when he saw the wind and the waves and began to sink. Peter was fearful when he denied Christ three times but he was fearless on the day of Pentecost. Jesus told Peter at the time that He called him, “Do not be afraid.” At the time, Peter and his friends were frightened because they knew that only God could do what had been done with the great catch of fish. Christ had more in mind though than that as He said, “From now on you will catch men.” “Do not be afraid….” “…you will catch men.”
To some extent everything that is done spiritually requires that fear must be overcome. Being basically a shy person ministry, which requires continual interaction with others, was not something that I could do without supernatural empowerment. Over the years, the interaction has become more natural for me. Standing up before others and preaching was difficult at first - at times, it still can be very difficult. However, God has always been faithful to enable me to do what is needed. It can be embarrassing to lose your voice as I did one Easter morning in the middle of the sermon. It can also be difficult to think that at any time during the sermon my voice may suddenly stop working as it has a few times. Only through His power, His courage can I continue. There have been times when I have been physically ill and thought that I would be unable to speak when it was time for me to preach. But when it was time and I began to stand up God gave me the strength to stand and to speak.
Witnessing is often difficult and it is actually easier for me to share with a stranger than it is a friend or relative. It takes courage, supernatural courage for me to do this. Starting a new class, or a new program, or having a special event in our church is not always easy. Why? Because of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of humiliation. It takes courage to do these things and God is faithful and has always been faithful to provide that courage. To begin writing this devotional was difficult and to continue to write can be difficult when some are offended, and some criticize. God, however, has always provided the empowerment, the courage, and along with it feedback from others that have been touched by the devotional.
If you remember Joshua, facing the great city of Jericho God gave him the courage and the plan to overthrow that city. If you remember Nehemiah there were some who criticized, threatened, and mocked but he continued on to successfully build the wall around Jerusalem. The strength and the courage for Nehemiah came directly from God.
When God speaks to call you to serve Him remember He will provide the courage. God will say to you, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).”