As we get ready to hear another story about one of God’s promises, I want to ask some questions. Have you ever been nervous about having to do something? Have you ever had to ask a stranger a question—maybe for directions–and you felt nervous about it? Or have you ever had to speak in front of your whole class—maybe to give a report or a speech? Did you feel scared to do it?
In the Bible, Moses was nervous. God told Moses that he had a job to do. Moses was to go to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and tell Pharaoh to free the slaves. Moses didn’t want to go talk to Pharaoh. He was afraid. When God told him what he was to do, he answered God by saying, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh…”
Moses then tried to get out of doing what God wanted him to do. First he told God that he wasn’t a good speaker. God reminded Moses that He is the one who made Moses’ mouth, and He would help Moses speak. Moses was still scared, so he asked God to send someone else. God did not send someone to take Moses’ place, but he did send a helper, Moses’ brother Aaron, to help Moses.
What does that tell you about God? It tells me that God understands when we are fearful and weak. He doesn’t make fun of us for being weak or scared. He doesn’t leave us on our own to solve our problems by ourselves. Instead, God offers His help and His strength.
The story of Moses is a great example of God’s promise to be our strength, when we are feeling weak. That promise can be found in Isaiah 40:28-31 which says:
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
God promises to be our strength, even when we feel weak! I want to give you a more modern example of someone else who was very scared to speak. This is a story about a man named John Piper, who is alive today. Probably most of the students haven’t heard of Mr. Piper, but I am sure many teachers and parents have. Mr. Piper is a very famous author who has written over 50 books. Even more important than being a famous author, Mr. Piper has been a very famous pastor for over 33 years, and he is known for speaking in front of thousands of people at a time.
The interesting thing I learned about Mr. Piper is that he was absolutely terrified to speak in class when he was in elementary school. He has said that he would get so choked up that he could hardly talk if his teacher called on him in class. He was not just nervous—but physically unable to speak. It was a real problem! One book about him says that his hands would shake if a teacher asked him to do math problems on the board. His problem didn’t get any better when he got to high school and he had to give a speech. He just didn’t think he would be able to do it at all. When the day of the speech came, he was shaking. But he says he remembered the promises of God and he called out to God for help. It wasn’t the best speech, but he got through it. God gave him the strength to face the class, open his mouth, and speak.
But that wasn’t the end of it. I read an interview with him where he said the problem continued up into his college years. He didn’t really get over it until he was in college when he was asked to pray out loud at a chapel service where 500 people were there. He says he asked how long he needed to pray and was told he only had to pray in front of everyone for 30 seconds. He said he was so nervous that he walked back and forth in front of the building pleading with God. He prayed, “If you will get me through thirty seconds without bombing, without my voice choking up or trembling so bad that everybody is totally embarrassed for me, I will never again out of fear say ‘No” to a speaking engagement.”
And that is what happened—God gave him the strength. Not only was he able to speak that day in a school chapel service and pray out loud in front of others, but he became a very famous author and speaker who has talked in front of huge audiences—in front of thousands of people.
John Piper and Moses could both be considered weak—because of their fear of talking in front of others, but they depended on God, and God gave them the strength to do what they needed to do.
Students, I want you to remember that God gives his children strength to do things that are hard for them to do—like talking in front of others in class, or doing challenging school work that seems too difficult, or going through sickness, or maybe even in being kind to someone who is mean. When we trust God with the hard things in our lives, He gives strength to the weary and power to the weak.
What a great promise from God!