Speak Up

Salisbury Post- February 3, 2018

During my senior year in college, I attended a seminar with other prospective teachers, where the leaders shared information and responded to questions about government and local issues. The discussion veered to Christianity, and for the first time in my life, I knew what it felt like for my faith to be personally attacked. I remember feeling very small in that moment, as the hurtful, intimidating comments continued.

My mind was telling me to say something to defend my faith. ANYTHING. I felt my heart flutter and I knew I had to speak up. Right then. I also knew that if I did, my voice would quiver, tears would flow, and I would probably be unable to respond effectively to any counterattack. (Yes, I am the girl who always had, “Ann is shy,” comments from teachers on my report cards.)

The words did not form. My mouth would not move. The seminar ended.

I stepped into the crowded elevator where the tears began to fall, as I stared at the doors blankly. I had let God and myself down.

Looking back, it felt that I was having a ‘rooster crowing’ moment like Peter encountered, when he realized he had denied Christ three times. He responded by weeping bitterly.

Mmm….mmm…mmm. My faith seemed to have dwindled to zero that day, not because of what I said, but because of what I failed to say.

Decades later, I think back and wish I HAD said something – anything – even in spite of the quivering voice and tears that would have coincided with my words.

I doubt my words would have mattered to those in the room at all.

But… I believe it would have mattered to me to have spoken them.

I am sure I am not the only one who has had times they were afraid of the giants. Yes, we had plenty of weapons. We could have pulled out our sling and stone, but we didn’t. We just sat there. Afraid. Trying to shrink away into invisibility. By the lack of taking action, we failed to stand up for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Yes, denying Christ still happens.

It may be what we say. It may be what we don’t say.

It may be what we do. It may be what we don’t do.

Encouragement can be found in how Jesus responded to Peter, who failed Him often, but loved Him much. Jesus restored Peter and used him greatly.

We are not perfect. We fail daily. But God can use those events in our lives that seem to be evil and work them for our good…. to help us know, grow, and go.

For me, something about the hurt from that day never went away.

That day did not define who I was. I still belonged to Jesus.

But, that day began to refine who I was. I began to desire to let my faith be known by the way I lived and by the words I said.

We may be followers who fail, but that is better than failing to follow.

We cannot let our failures define us. Instead, let our failures refine us.

*Nowadays, I try to show up, step up, and even speak up.

(My teachers would be proud of me. Ann isn’t shy anymore.)

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