In my most recent Examiner post, I mention social phobias and the fear of public speaking.
The fear of public speaking ranks number one among all of the fears people may face, even higher than the fear of death as I understand. Despite the statistics, a young woman who was no more than 20 years old dynamically shared a message last Sunday at my church’s Youth Sunday service. The message was one that revealed a maturity beyond her years, and was most evidently given to her by the Holy Spirit.
Not everyone is cut out to speak in front of hundreds or even thousands of people. Some people find it difficult to speak in front of two or three people. But before you condemn yourself as being one of those, tell yourself this: God can use you, no matter what your age, sex, or, well, even species!
In Numbers 22:21-31, we find the diviner Balaam travelling with the princes of Moab. God is angry that he is doing this and sends the angel of the LORD (Numbers 22:22) to prevent his passage.
Initially, only Balaam’s donkey is able to see the angel which is effectively blocking its path. The donkey tries to avoid the otherwise invisible angel and is punished by Balaam for refusing to move. After three times, the donkey is miraculously given the power to complain to Balaam (Numbers 22:28) about his treatment.
Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.” (Number 22:31-33, NIV)
Theologians have written that the donkey did not actually speak, that the passage should not be taken literally, but it was recorded in Scripture so in some way, whether through a dream or a vision, God spoke to Balaam through this beast of burden.
If He can use a donkey, which most assuredly cannot form words or speak on its own ability, surely God can use you and me!
The next time you find yourself anxious about sharing your testimony or a word to a group or even a crowd, allow this to become your mantra: “If God can use a donkey, He can use me too.”
And if that doesn’t work, try this: imagine your audience in their underwear.