After Moses encountered God through the burning bush (Ex. 3, 4), God told him to return to Egypt to deliver the Hebrew people from bondage. Moses responded, “I am slow of speech and tongue … O Lord, please send someone else.” (Ex. 4:10, 13).
I can appreciate how Moses felt. I also dread speaking in public.
The Lord replied that Moses’ brother, Aaron, would help him, and God said to Moses: “I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do” (Ex. 4:15). God also equipped Moses with a staff he could use to demonstrate God’s miraculous signs.
Moses was afraid to step forward and serve the Lord due to his weaknesses and insecurities. But the Lord God equipped Moses to perform powerful miracles in His name. Like Moses, we need to have faith that God will use us, even in our weaknesses.
This may seem like a stretch to those of us who wrestle with hardships and weaknesses, for example, debilitating illness, advancing age, or perhaps even incarceration,.When we are led to serve the Lord, we may ask ourselves, or even ask God as Moses did, “Who, me?”
God not only uses seemingly weak people, but He can also turn weaknesses into strengths—tools that will enhance our ability to serve others.
The Bible is full of great prophets and disciples who were immensely flawed, yet God still used them in powerful ways. The apostle Peter was often an overly emotional and impetuous man. He also denied Christ three times at His trial. Does this sound like the same man who was instrumental in starting the Christian church and who died as a martyr? The twelve disciples did not find their strength and boldness until God sent the Holy Spirit to empower them.
The apostle Paul had his weaknesses and was once a persecutor of Christians. He writes in 2 Corinthians 12:5, “I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.” He describes “a thorn in his flesh” that God would not remove, even after pleading repeatedly with God to do so. He then concludes, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I have a good friend who had a very severe case of stage fright. When he had to give a practice sermon as part of a class, his stress was so great that he actually suffered a mild heart attack while delivering it. Shortly after that, he was asked to deliver a sermon at our church. His initial reaction was, “Who, me? I can’t even speak publicly without suffering a heart attack!”
Nevertheless, his faith and trust in the Lord were so strong that, after prayer and discernment, he knew the Lord had called him to speak and would equip him. Since that day he has been effectively serving the Lord by conducting numerous worship services and through sermons as a church lay leader.
About two years ago I was asked to lead a monthly worship service at a senior retirement home. For numerous reasons (weaknesses), in addition to health limitations, this was something I had never pictured myself doing. My initial response was, “Who, me?” But I stepped out in faith and obeyed. In addition, the Lord has expanded this ministry, so I am also conducting a weekly Bible study as well as serving at another senior retirement home. It is amazing to look back and see how the Lord has opened doors for me to minister to the elderly! Again, the Lord has equipped and empowered me to turn my weaknesses into strengths.
I am not attempting to minimize the strong limitations many of us have that might detract from our ability to serve as we would like. But the Lord calls each one of us to serve Him and perhaps to stretch ourselves in some way. For some, this might be as simple as being a prayer warrior; for others, it may be something more. Perhaps we are to minister to others suffering from the same difficulties we have struggled with, such as debilitating illnesses, aging, depression or loneliness.
What might the Lord be asking you to do? If your response is “Who, me?” the Lord can equip you, just as He did Moses at the burning bush. Let the Holy Spirit work within you to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Perhaps, like Paul and those in this story, you too may someday boast that the Lord has turned your thorns into roses.
By Scott Martin