I’ve never fancied myself a public speaker. Singing on stage with a choir is one thing, but when it comes to speaking in general, I have a propensity for putting my foot in my mouth, so my nerves get the best of me. I grew up a very quiet person, only saying something if I was approached first, only giving brief answers, sharing basic pleasantries, secretly hoping the interaction will end quickly…you get the picture. After texting became a cultural norm, I quickly learned that it was easier to express what I’m trying to say if I typed it out, because it gave me a chance to revise my statement as many times as I wished until I was satisfied.
This realization sparked an idea to start writing my thoughts out, whatever they may be. I would bring a notepad to work (if it was allowed) and just scribble down whatever ran through my brain, never really knowing what I would do with it, usually just throwing them away. After doing this for a period of time, I realized that it gave me a sense of satisfaction putting my deepest emotions to the pen. I didn’t realize at the time that I had tapped into an integral part of God’s plan for my life.
It’s funny looking back how something as simple as preferring to text over talk would plant a seed that would grow into a desire to cultivate my writing skill to be used by God through me. He placed this gift inside me from the very beginning, because this is my “pulpit” from which I am to declare the faithfulness of God in my life. I greatly admire preachers and how the Lord anoints them to be able to speak in front of many and declare the truths of His Word, but this doesn’t mean I envy their calling. On the contrary, I am blessed to be uniquely chosen by God for the calling He has placed on my life.
Each one of us is meticulously crafted by the Almighty to take the gospel to every corner of the earth. Satan knows this, so naturally he wants you to think you’re not deserving or capable of serving such a high calling. I spent decades of my life letting him attack my sense of self-worth, and I honestly believed there was nothing special about me. Ironically, these were similar to the thoughts I would scribble in my notepads at work.
God never stopped working on me, His plan for my life never changed, He never abandoned hope that I would return to His loving arms. I gave up on myself, and on Him for many years. While I was writing about how hopeless and lost I felt, He was planting seeds that would come into bloom in His perfect timing. Now that I have fully surrendered myself to His will, God has planted a desire within me to be a burning light for Him, to take up my pulpit and speak of His faithfulness in my life.
Maybe you’re like me and you counted yourself out long ago. Perhaps you think too much time has been wasted or that there’s nothing special about you, like I have. It’s hard to imagine yourself being free when you’re in the middle of a raging storm, barely keeping your head above water. So how are you supposed to hang on to hope when everything seems hopeless? How do I find God in the middle of what I’m going through?
I loved singing along to Casting Crowns’ “Praise You In This Storm”, but never gave much thought to the message of the song. When I talked to God, it was always to vent about how low I felt and how I desperately needed Him. I wanted to talk about the storm, because that’s all I was focused on; but when I approached God just to thank Him instead, to put to practice what I had belted out in my car so many times, He inhabited my praise, and His love consumed the darkness in my heart in an instant.
There’s freedom in surrender. When you hit a new low in your life and choose to speak life into your situation instead of anger and pain, He honors that. You don’t have to search for Him in the middle of the storm, because he never left you. His love is sufficient; I am living proof of just how powerful that love is when you let Him invade your space. It drives me forward, pushes me to be a better person, a better man, a better son, a better brother. Now, it pushes me to my “pulpit”, to share what He has imparted to me these last few weeks, to those who have ears to hear.
God will meet you wherever you’re at. He has weaved unique gifts into your identity, to reach the lost and dying that only you can reach. I pray that He would meet you in your dark place, and cultivate the seeds He planted in the very beginning. I pray His love would consume the shadows in your heart, and push you to become everything He’s called you to be. I pray that God will inhabit your praise, and invade your space, until the only thing that matters is Him. Lastly, I pray that He will help you find your voice, your own pulpit, to proclaim His faithfulness to a desperate world.