It shouldn’t have been that difficult, nor that frightening.
Why should I be afraid to volunteer to speak a ten minute message to 40 classmates?
When the professor asked for people to consider volunteering, I knew that it was my time to speak.
Yet I was afraid. I was afraid that I was not worthy. I was afraid that I would preach heresy. I was afraid that it wasn’t God’s will for me. And, most of all, I was afraid that my classmates would not support me and would not be willing to hear me.
After all, I had heard all the only-half-joking comments during my Homiletics course of the previous semester:
“Yeah, the guys are preaching after the girls so they can fix their theology.”
After all, I had heard the sermons from male preachers about where God has determined that females belong – and it definitely isn’t behind a pulpit.
After all, I had heard my pastor tell me that he never feels comfortable listening to a female preacher:
“It just feels wrong.”
In the face of these fears, I reminded myself of the Godly women who spoke before –
Esther risked her life to approach the king on behalf of her people.
Deborah was a prophetess, a judge, a counselor, and completely capable of leading a nation into battle.
Huldah prophesied destruction and was heard by the king.
The women who discovered Jesus’ resurrection declared the good news despite not being believed.
– women who spoke truth with courage and calling.
I reminded myself that I was not given a voice so that I could stay silent. I am the bearer of an important message, and I will speak it.
So I walked straight from the classroom to the professor’s office.
“I would like to volunteer to speak to the class on the last day.”
He was excited. He called me “Pastor Hannah.” He expressed confidence that I would proclaim truth with boldness and accuracy.
When many of my classmates found out, they were surprised. The girls expressed that they thought it was very brave of me.
Less than half the class showed up on the day that I spoke. Some quite clearly didn’t want to hear it from me. But at the same time, many people heard my message, took it to heart, and encouraged me to continue speaking truth boldly.
After all, there is hope.