Acts 1:8, 2:14, 3:12, 4:13, 18-20, 29, 31 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses … Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles … Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd … The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John … [The Jewish council] called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” … When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God. “O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants great boldness in preaching your word.” … After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
Thanks to you who responded either in the comments or to me by email.
Part of my response to the question of what happens when I spend time with Jesus is this issue of boldness. It’s this blog. It’s about TELLING what I have seen and heard.
A few years ago, I couldn’t have imagined putting myself into a public space like this. I was afraid of people, timid to the point of tangling all my words when I needed to speak to a stranger. When I was fourteen, shortly before I got on a plane to travel to the foreign United States to live among strangers, Mom asked me to inform guests staying in a nearby home that our mealtime would be delayed. I couldn’t do it. I walked around the length of time I thought it might take to fulfill Mom’s directive, then returned home. When our guests showed up at the previously arranged time, I didn’t know how to explain to Mom why I had not obeyed her. I always preferred the back of a room, the corner at a party. I happily let my more extroverted siblings fill any quiet space.
That’s why I wanted someone else to write the Karis book. I wasn’t afraid of the writing as much as what would be required of me afterward, talking about the book. Though here’s a strange thing: somehow, when I can speak in Portuguese, that timidity goes away. I have spoken with confidence and joy to as many as a thousand people at conferences in Brazil. For some reason, it’s in English that I feel my reticence triggered.
Over the months it took me to read Karis’s journals, though, God convicted me. “Remember” and “tell” jumped out at me from the pages of Scripture. I tried Moses’s arguments: “Who am I?” “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me?” “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I get tongue-tied and my words get tangled.” And finally, “Lord, please! Send someone else.” In the end, it came down to, “Will you or will you not obey me?”
As I listened to the Lord and to Karis, I realized God had done so much for us that the story had to be told, with the hope of encouraging others. With my husband’s support, I tackled the huge task of sifting through our experience of God’s incredible faithfulness and confining the story to a couple hundred pages. And followed through with thirty-eight Stones of Remembrance gatherings in the six months after the book was published.
Still, I must regularly, daily, take my fears back to the Lord. To the extent my published words do encourage people—and each time I learn that has happened, I am encouraged—it’s because the Holy Spirit has given me boldness beyond what is natural to me. It may not seem like much to those of you naturally gifted with confidence. But for me, it is evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work in my life, as I spend time with Jesus. I am grateful.