Today's passage: I Corinthians 2:1-8
I don't think I would be very good in the medical profession. The minute I had to reveal bad news to somebody, I would be sick to my stomach. On the other hand, when I had good news to share, I would probably cry delivering that as well. And yet, as a Christian, I should be doing that every day. The bad news: Hell awaits those who don't accept Christ as the only way of salvation. The good news: Accept Him today and you can have a home in Heaven. A doctor is probably never thrilled when a patient wants a second opinion or refuses to follow his orders for treatment. The doctor knows this is the patient's choice, but he knows that it will not change the outcome of the condition. What if the doctor just decided that he couldn't emotionally handle how the patient would react, and decided not to give the bad news? If the patient never hears the bad news, undergoes treatment for it, then the doctor will never have the opportunity to share the good news. What if the good news is the person has been completely healed? The doctor who will not be forthcoming with the truth to his patient is fearful the patient may decide to reject the bad news which could lead to worse news. But what if she resigns herself that he is right? What if she does everything he prescribes? What if the treatment works? How exciting for the doctor and patient both when she gets a clean bill of health! Doctors might be fearful every day for the news they have to deliver to a patient, but it is their responsibility to deliver it despite the outcome.
Before Paul became apostle and missionary for Jesus Christ, he was known as Saul of Tarsus, Christian killer. Paul does not seem to be the type of person who was ever afraid of anything. Everything he did, he did with gusto, including putting Christians to death. After God saved him, he boldly went throughout Mesopotamia proclaiming Christ. I guess this is why I'm surprised to learn that he said speaking to the church of Corinth filled him with fear and trembling. Really? I would not believe it unless he told me (which he obviously does in this chapter). Reading the accounts in Paul's life and the epistles God wrote through him, he seems confident in the Lord, and confident in what God led him to do. This just shows that anybody, if they allow the Holy Spirit to work through them, can be the right vessel God can use to get the job done.
I wonder how often Paul had to overcome this fear. Was it daily? Was it everytime he preached? Was it each time he led a person to Christ, stepped off a ship in a new town, visited a synagogue? What about when he performed a miracle? Did he have just a little doubt before God healed the person that He really would heal them, which if He didn't, would make Paul look foolish? Did God allow him to overcome it? Or did Paul fear and tremble for the rest of his life? Can you imagine if Paul just quit? Can you fathom what would have happened if Paul faced a crowd and said to himself, "I just can't get past these butterflies in my stomach. They just won't settle down. I am so tired of feeling this way. Not doing it anymore." How many people who needed Christ, may have never heard the message if Paul was too wrapped up in his own shortcomings to allow God to use him? How many churches would have never been established if Paul decided to go back home to Tarsus and live a quiet, peaceful life. Only it wouldn't have been peaceful, because God called him to preach, and the Holy Spirit would nag at him everyday about that. What if somebody else had to write the epistles? Trust me, if Paul refused to be used, God would have found someone else. God's plan is never thwarted when I tell Him I don't want to or I'd rather not. God is not turned upside down, scratching His head, wondering what on earth He will do now because I won't allow Him to use me.
But can you imagine the joy Paul would have missed if he surrendered to his fears? I have had the opportunity to lead people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and I can tell you, there is nothing like it. It is the single most exciting thing to be able to share with someone what Christ did for them so they can have a home in Heaven. When a person understands this, and you get to pray with them, and show them from the Scripture what He has done, I mean, it is right up there with walking down the aisle to marry my husband, and seeing each of my children born. Why? Because this person is suddenly like a spiritual child. You were able to show them the way. You were able to shine a little light in their dark lives. And it is nothing you have done for them, you are showing them what Christ has done for them, but you get to give them the good news. God lets us tell people about Him. God lets us be involved in the process of somebody finding Christ, and I'm amazed that He does. I haven't personally led anyone to the Lord for a while. I think I know why. Lately, I've been feeling like I'm afraid I will show somebody a wrong verse, I'm worried that if I try to explain salvation to them, I won't explain it right. But I'm forgetting the key element to this process. The Holy Spirit. He works in me, to give me the right words at the right time, and He works in them, to reveal God's Word to them. Like Paul, when I feel the butterflies, I need to lean on the Holy Spirit. It is not my Word anyway. It is not my job to see that the person understands, it is only my job to see that the person hears. Is that how Paul was able to overcome his fear? I can't mess up God's plan of salvation. I can only refuse to be the tool He uses for somebody to hear it. And when I succumb to my fears, I am missing out on the most joyous feeling I can have. Not that salvation is based on emotion, but I get super emotional when somebody accepts Christ, whether I have led them or somebody else has.
Doctors can quit the profession, if they feel they can no longer handle it emotionally. That would absolve them from ever having to share such terrible news. But the flip side to that is that they will never witness the joy a person experiences when they have been healed from a disease, when the regimen prescribed is working, when they bring a child into the world for the first, second, or third time. I am never absolved of my Christian duty to share God's Word. I may refuse to do it, I may let fear stop me, but I am still responsible for the news I hold. I just will never have the privilege of sharing in the joy the person experiences when they find Christ.
Lord, I really want to lead somebody to Christ this week. Will You allow me to do that? I can't mess up Your plan no matter how I stumble over my words, no matter how many not-to-the-point verses I show them, no matter how little prepared I was to lead somebody. Your Holy Spirit shines the light down the path, leading them, and maybe I can be the person at the end who opens Your Book and shows them the Light they need in their heart. I sure miss that feeling I get from leading somebody to You. That is just a bonus, I know. That You allow me to be part of Your plan is something I will never understand. I bet Paul never got over that either.