I heard a man who gets $10K per keynote speech say if you have a story of struggle that leads to success and can speak or write about it, people will gather to learn about it. We all love a story with a happy ending. It uplifts us, gives us courage to do the same, and renews our hopes. Life is full of struggles and we can either let them beat us, or we can beat them. We admire those who have had the tenacity and perseverance to pursue their goals no matter what life has handed them.
The twelve disciples had an extraordinary experience that changed their lives forever.
So they [the Jewish leaders] called them [the disciples] and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20 ESV)
What had they seen and heard? It wasn’t that they walked with Jesus when He was on the earth, it was that they walked with Him after He had died, risen and forgiven them. Each had struggled with their faith. Each had failed their Lord and run when He needed them the most. A few filtered to the cross as he died and hid in the crowds. John sought out to comfort Jesus’ mother. But Jesus disappointed them all. They questioned if He was really the Messiah or not. And after He died, they hid themselves away in fear and hurt.
But we know that was not the end of the story- why? Because they couldn’t help but tell everyone when Jesus returned. And what they said was written down by their own pen or that of a close follower. Paul, once the Christian hater Saul, also rose through struggles to triumph,. Yet, all his life dealt with the thorn in his flesh. whatever it was. Even so, he never let it defeat him.
What is your story? Have you had struggles? Has your faith seen you through to success. even if they are small stepping stones in your life? Then, God is calling you to tell others about it. Like the disciples, it is not up to you to decide who gets to hear. It is up to them to judge, but it is up to you to speak out. Ask God to show those opportunities, whether they are one on one with someone in quiet prayer, to your friends and family, to total strangers, or to your congregation. Let Him use the talents He has blessed through you to get the message out, be it through writing, poetry, music or art.
We have good news the world needs to hear. We have the solution of how they can get through their struggles. Tell it, and leave the effect up to God. If we do not, the stones and rock will cry it out. But it is better that we speak, isn’t it? We have the Holy Spirit to guide our words and actions, if we let Him. And once we do, like the disciples, how can we not speak of what we have seen and heard?