“Fear arises when we imagine everything depends on us.”
~ Elisabeth Elliot
Recently, I helped with hosting a revival of hope in the city of Baltimore in area of dire need. Most people in this particular area are struggling with some kind of substance addiction or making a career from another’s struggle.
A few colleagues and I began meeting on one of the corners one day a week, handing out hot chocolate during the winter and lemonade during the spring and summer months, as a way to express Christ’s love, intercede in prayer, offer hope and encouragement. It was purely amazing to see how the Lord opened up doors to closed hearts toward Him. The stigma that usually surrounds this kind of “Christianese” efforts began to evaporate as our group consistently embraced the community treating them with dignity, friendliness, and hearts of love. The people in the community began to look forward to our weekly stand and even called us the “Holy drink ladies” serving that “holy juice”.
One of my best friends and group leader was setting up the stand one day and a man came to help her. She thanked him for his help. Little did she know that he also was a street minister and sets up a stand like ours handing out hot dogs and cold drinks in the same area on different blocks. Some time later she received an email to meet up with a street minister about joining forces to pray for the city of Baltimore. It turns out that the same man we would be meeting up with was the gentleman that helped her set up that day.
After many weeks of meetings, prayer, planning, and fasting the days for the Hope Revival were coming and things were set in place. The only goals in mind were salvation, restoration, reconciliation with Christ, release from the bondage of strongholds & addictions and the stirring up of hope in the hearts of those where the light has gone dim.
We weren’t collecting an offering.
We don’t attend the same church.
We are just a group of people who have a heart for the city of Baltimore.
We are just a group of people who have a heart for lost and broken people. (who doesn’t fit that description at some point in their life?)
I was asked to share my testimony on the first night. I didn’t know that I would be because that wasn’t discussed in any of the planning. I wasn’t prepared. I was afraid. I never shared my testimony before. I never thought I had one. I didn’t really think that I had anything to offer as a minister of the gospel. (My pastor famously says, “if you are saved, you are called.” I didn’t feel called to preach. I didn’t believe that I had anything to share.) One of my friends shared hers in my place after I asked. When she finished, I told her I would like to share mine the following evening of the revival.
Flash back: Weeks earlier as I met with an intercessor at my church to pray for the event. In prayer, she heard from the Lord and spoke some things to me. She began to agree in prayer with all of the same things my friends have been praying all along for this revival. I simply asked her to pray for the event and the Lord spoke to her to pray for all the concerns we had. I never told her specifics so I knew this was coming straight from the Lord. In that prayer she also spoke “you will have the words to say”. As the prayer closed, I was thinking to myself: I’m not speaking at the conference but the Lord must want me to.
Flash forward: All that night and through out the next day I asked the Lord to give me the words to speak. I know that people relate with you more when they can identify with you on something. Instead of thinking I had nothing to offer and began to probe my heart to see what we all have in common.
As I walked up to the stage that night my heart wrestled with fear but then I remembered that it is not about me. I am not the sole person to save people. Jesus is. If people come to know Him because of me, Praise God! If people come to know Him because of someone else, Praise God! I am just there to water and nourish the seed. God will do the rest. It took me standing up there speaking to realize: 1. I do have a testimony that is worth sharing. and 2. The outcome doesn’t rest in my hands.
Reading Elisabeth Elliot’s quote, “Fear arises when we imagine everything depends on us.”, helps me to better understand why I responded the way that I did. A part of me believed that I was in control of some of the life changing events that will happen to the people in the revival audience. God is the only one that has that authority. I had to trust that if He gives me the words to speak whatever He lays on my heart to share is going to touch the heart of the right person so that he or she knows they are not alone in their situation because another person has gone through the same or similar trials.
Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real can definitely be a stumbling block if allowed.
After finding this quote, I am seeing so many things in a better light. I am adjusting the way I view situations or encounters where I could make a difference. Not because it is all about me but remembering that parts of me can be helpful and not sharing parts of me is like not trusting that God can use what I have to offer.
Thank you for sharing this MOMENT with me! I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world!