So do not be afraid of people. Whatever is now covered up will be uncovered, and every secret will be made known. What I am telling you in the dark you must repeat in the broad daylight, and what you have heard in private you must announce from the housetops.
[Jesus’ 12 disciples are sent out on a mission trip with these instructions. For background see Days 83-84.]
Are you afraid of performing or public speaking? I sure used to be. It literally made me sick. When I was a little girl they used to try to force me to sing in church and I would totally freak out. My voice would get all shaky and it was a hot mess.
Jesus sent his disciples out on this mission trip to reveal God’s truth through healing, deliverance, raising the dead, and proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Jesus expected them to go out and deliver a powerful message through both word and action to all who would receive it. Perhaps some of them were afraid to speak to people. If so, they were in good company. Moses, Jeremiah, and Jonah are all known for being reluctant Biblical prophets who required a lot of encouragement from God:
- But Moses said, “No, Lord, don’t send me. I have never been a good speaker, and I haven’t become one since you began to speak to me. I am a poor speaker, slow and hesitant.” (Exodus 4:10).
- The Lord said to me [Jeremiah], “I chose you before I gave you life, and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet to the nations.” I answered, “Sovereign Lord, I don’t know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say that you are too young, but go to the people I send you to, and tell them everything I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them, for I will be with you to protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 1:4-8).
- One day the Lord spoke to Jonah son of Amittai. He said, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and speak out against it; I am aware of how wicked its people are.” Jonah, however, set out in the opposite direction in order to get away from the Lord. (Jonah 1:1-3)
After telling them not to be afraid, Jesus assures his disciples that nothing can stop God’s truth from being revealed. Jesus has revealed God’s truth to his disciples, and everything he is telling them in the relative privacy of their little group will spread out across the world and echo for thousands of years into the future! Uncovered! Repeated! Shouted from the housetops!
The Bible reinforces this idea that God’s truth always comes out in the end.
- It is he who says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other god.
I have not spoken in secret or kept my purpose hidden.
I did not require the people of Israel to look for me in a desolate waste.
I am the Lord, and I speak the truth; I make known what is right.” (Isaiah 45:19).
- He reveals things that are deep and secret; he knows what is hidden in darkness, and he himself is surrounded by light. (Daniel 2:20-22).
The prophet Amos says, “When a lion roars, who can keep from being afraid? When the Sovereign Lord speaks, who can keep from proclaiming his message?” (Amos 3:8).
I agree with Amos that we must talk about how God is working in our lives if we want to see positive changes in our world. Whatever God tells us in privacy should be shouted from the rooftops for the good of all mankind. Despite my fear of public speaking, I’ve learned that I mustn’t be shy about sharing my special spiritual experiences or revelations. People need to know that God is alive and active my life and the lives of others. I treasure both my own experiences and those of others. They are a wonderful gift and a great encouragement. I have learned to love talking about God to all who will listen. I think it should be as natural as talking about the weather.
It’s strange that lots of church people are uncomfortable talking about God. It should be the one place where a person can talk candidly about what God has said or done without people looking at you like you’re describing a UFO. Unfortunately this is not necessarily the case. Somewhere in the church’s schedule there should be an opportunity for people to share on this level. We shouldn’t have to keep these things to ourselves. When God says or does something it should be shared. It should be celebrated. And churches that don’t want to bother with God are really pretty useless.
So don’t be afraid to share what God has done in your life! If you need practice know that I will always appreciate hearing about what God is saying to you. I promise I will never look at you as though you are telling me you have seen a UFO or a Bigfoot or a unicorn. Truly, I promise I won’t do that. And after you get a little practice talking about these kinds of things with people who understand, you will get to the point where you don’t care how people look at you. Then, you will find that when you share your God stories with others, they will start sharing their God stories with you! Share with your family, your friends, your neighbors. You will find that people are eager to talk to others about their personal spirituality and experiences. It’s kind of an underground network. Last week, for example, one of our neighbors stopped us on the street to give us a testimony about how God used her dog to comfort her grieving friend.
I will end with excerpts from Psalm 22. It is my hope that churches will become more receptive to people like this psalmist whose boundless enthusiasm for their God can’t be contained!
I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their assembly:
“Praise him, you servants of the Lord!
Honor him, you descendants of Jacob!
Worship him, you people of Israel!
He does not neglect the poor or ignore their suffering;
he does not turn away from them,
but answers when they call for help.”
In the full assembly I will praise you for what you have done;
in the presence of those who worship you
I will offer the sacrifices I promised.
The poor will eat as much as they want;
those who come to the Lord will praise him.
May they prosper forever!
Future generations will serve him;
they will speak of the Lord to the coming generation.
People not yet born will be told:
“The Lord saved his people.”
What does this scripture say to you?