"Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent" (NKJV)
"And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent" (ESV)
"One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!" (NLT)
For most of my life I was a shy and somewhat silent person. I was in theater and debate and I had a voice. I was taught by my parents to be strong and to stand up for myself. So, do not mistake my saying I was silent for me having no voice or being meek. That is far from the truth. I didn't, however, like to be the center of attention. I did not want to be noticed. I wanted to be behind the scenes orchestrating everyone else's good time. I think that is why I went in to event planning in college and then in to student activities in Grad School. I enjoy seeing other people enjoy.
Because of this, it has been extremely hard for me to understand God's commission to go and to pronounce His word. I love my Lord God and I am so thankful for the way that He has redirected not only my life but my husband's life and the lives of those around us. I want others to feel His love and kindness and patience. How then do I read through Acts 18:9 and not get a pit in my stomach. The only way people will know about the love of God is to hear about it. I would so much rather crawl under a stump and believe that someone else will tell the world about God and I can just help setup the meetings. But that isn't God's commission, is it?
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus makes it very clear: "Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NLT).
This is where Acts 18:9 is meant for encouragement and strength. Don't be afraid. Why do I not like to speak out. Fear. Fear of what? Of, it could be so many things. I do not need to pay heed to that fear though. I need to speak boldly and know that God will use me for this commission in the best way for His kingdom. It is not up to Me. I gave away my right to be scared of speaking for God the day I gave Him my life. Does this mean it will all of a sudden be miraculously easy, absolutely NOT! We have already seen the pain that Paul went through. I know that there is pain awaiting this commission, but it is all aimed toward the goodness and gloriousness that is awaiting me in my next life.