I don’t know about you, but I am not brave. I dread criticism and judgment. I’d rather work behind the scenes than live in the spotlight and be open to the critique of others. The world is hostile and people can be harsh. Let someone who likes the attention rise up and be the focus. Have you ever uttered these sentiments? If so, you are not alone.
Consider the woman who is afraid to speak up at work when something seems unethical. The college student who fears sharing his beliefs publicly and being labeled intolerant. A man called to a position for which he feels utterly ill-equipped. A family considering adoption and fearful of the struggles it will entail. Surely God should choose someone more confident and courageous in these situations. But he doesn’t.
We see this in Scripture. We see regular people, with obvious weaknesses who are not looking to be in the spotlight, and yet they are chosen for God’s work. Consider just a few:
- Moses: “Since I am unskilled in speech, why would Pharaoh listen to me?” (Ex 6:12).
- Gideon: “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house” (Judg 6:15).
- And Esther trembled with fear because going before the King uninvited can lead to death (Es 4:11).
God does not need the famous, accomplished, strong, or eloquent. Rather, he chooses the weak and unassuming and calls them to do brave things. Abraham was old, Timothy was young, David was an unassuming shepherd boy, Rahab was a prostitute, and Jonah ran away hoping to avoid his calling. It is fair to say that God may even have an affinity for reluctant people. He summons those who already seem disqualified to serve him publicly. He takes jars of clay and demonstrates his all-surpassing power through them (2 Cor 4:7).
It seems that our limitations may be the very qualifications God is looking for. Paul made this clear when he spoke of his own calling:
And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Cor 2:3–5)
It is God who is at work through Paul and us; we are his instruments. He uses people who are “not brave,” those who feel weak and afraid, to demonstrate his power.
Perhaps you are not brave. You do not want the Lord to put you in a position to be judged, targeted, mistreated, or harmed. You run from circumstances or opportunities that require courage. But despite our fear, weaknesses, and insecurities, God works through us. He has a different standard for value and leadership.
Be encouraged. God does not need the brave; he simply needs the willing.