I have read and heard this story before, but it is a great example of how we should not be quick to proclaim what spiritual gift we have before we understand what a great God we serve.
John Piper, who preaches before thousands of people each year, was once absolutely terrified to do public speaking. He describes the terror that gripped him from grade 6 to the summer between his sophomore and junior years at Wheaton College:
(I)t wasn’t funny. It wasn’t like when you get butterflies in front of a group or your knees shake or whatever. It was never funny. It was blood earnest because I simply couldn’t do it.
And it was absolutely humiliating when I was forced to try. Like when we had this training union thing in church where you had to give parts that lasted one minute. And I would hold a card, and it would shake so bad. And everybody would start to look at their laps. They would feel so tense. And I would go home and cry, and my mother would try and…
His breakthrough came when he let go of his deep fear and trusted God to help him. And, as he pleaded with God, he made a vow that he would never let his fear master him. I love this story because, first of all, it shows what kind of God we serve. After all, who could listen to a passionately speaker like John Piper and imagine him being afraid? This is how God works. And I appreciate how Piper always points to God’s merciful hand on his life. That is humility and that honors God.
So, when I hear a story like this it brings hope to my life. What am I so afraid of that God is willing to handle better than I ever could? Am I perhaps nursing fears that are keeping me from really enjoying a closer relationship with God? We serve a great God, and he never ceases to amaze how he works powerfully in our lives for His glory.