I did a hard thing this past weekend…I served as the Jenkins Center’s featured speaker for the first seminar of the semester at Southern Seminary in Louisville. I’ve spoken there before, but this time was different. While I shared just with women on Saturday, I spoke on evangelism to a mixed group on Friday night. It wasn’t the mixed group that got me, it was the topic. This was his topic…always has been. He was the expert, not me.
And yet, somehow, I agreed to do it. Just like the book I wrote about his life and service, I felt compelled to accept this current challenge, though it threw me way outside of my comfort zone. I had to do it, because I do not want people to stop hearing from his wisdom, his experience…God’s work through him. I have his papers, his talks; I had all the information and knowledge, but I didn’t have him. Would they accept his message of loving and building bridges to Muslims from me?
We had an interesting relationship. He evangelized, I discipled (well, so did he), but the reality was, I was sharing something that I witnessed him do, not that I did myself. I was more like Andrew…I brought people to Raouf so he could share. Sometimes it was because of language limitations, but many times because I knew he could do it better. Was I worthy to share on this topic?
As I contemplated my talk in the quiet of the hotel, I remembered a comforting word from above:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I definitely was weak, and admittedly so, but God was faithful and proved himself strong as I shared.
Whenever Raouf and I shared together, our favorite time was the Q&A, because he would call me up and we’d take questions back and forth from the audience. They loved our rapport and obvious love for the subject and each other. As I spoke three times that weekend, I had extended times of questions, but no fun bantering with the man who made witness seem so easy. I missed him.
I returned home drained but happy that I had allowed the Lord to stretch me yet again. Remembering the young women who are engaging Muslims in their city or hope to travel overseas for service, I’m grateful for being able to serve a God who takes us with our weaknesses and shows Himself true and strong.
Feeling weak? Lacking confidence? Say yes, and let Him shine through you.
Grace and Peace
2 thoughts on “I spoke in his place”
I sat in the audience on Friday, Mrs. Ghattas. It was a pleasure to do so. I think my wife and I were the token 40 somethings amidst the sea of seminarians. She had the honor of listening to you on Saturday and came home inspired, touched and enthusiastic to share. I sat on the bed in our bedroom, she got our her notebook and shared everything that she had captured on paper, which was ALOT. (She is a prolific note taker) I’m thankful for Raouf and you and your Gospel ministry to Muslims and us. You will be in my prayers for your continued service to the kingdom and the strength to do so without Raouf. The love you shared was evident, heart warming and God glorifying. Thank you for your obedience and courage. I pray that he draws ever nearer as you seek to serve him and he opens doors for you to do so. Be blessed for your work.
Thank you, Todd, for these kind words. I’m so thankful you were both encouraged by the talks. God is good. Thank you for your prayers.