The moment I found my seat on the Boeing 757, the weight of my mission overwhelmed me. After twenty-five hours of flight time, I would land in a city in West Africa known for its political volatility and poverty. It was a place of unknowns, insecurity, and suffering. My task was to deliver a message of encouragement to the women living there.
The problem was I felt like a phony. What did I know of their daily suffering? How could I possibly speak any words of wisdom into their reality? Sure, I’ve experienced my share of struggle, but I was going into their world of poverty with an extra-large suitcase and far too many clothes and snacks. I’d kissed my well-dressed husband and children goodbye, left my spacious suburban house, and drove my SUV to the airport without the least bit of concern about their safety or mine. Although I would spend more than a week in West Africa, I would do so with the full assurance of returning home to my all-too-comfortable life.
Thus, the reason I sat overwhelmed in seat 27A: I had little talent or experience to offer, nor did I have any magical powers or hidden wealth to share. I was an ordinary woman from the other side of the globe who loved Jesus. That’s it. Was it enough?
I wonder if the disciples experienced similar doubts as they huddled together in Jerusalem. A few weeks before, they’d watched Jesus’s arrest, unfair trial, and horrific crucifixion. Fearing a similar fate, they fled in different directions, terrified for their lives. Then, against all hope, Jesus appeared, alive! They didn’t understand it, nor could they explain it, but they celebrated it! Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah, the One who’d come to save all humankind.
But then, almost as quickly as He’d come, He left. While they watched, amazed, He rose into the sky with a few final words:
You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 1:8 (CSB)
They were to be missionaries of the good news, ambassadors of Jesus. What a calling! They were ordinary men and women with meager resources and few credentials. How would they deliver hope to a desperate world?
As it turned out, Jesus knew what they needed and already had a plan to deliver it.
He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise.
Acts 1:4 (CSB)
The disciples gathered in Jerusalem, overwhelmed by their mission, yet God gave them exactly what they needed to accomplish it.
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying.
Acts 2:1-2 (CSB)
The Holy Spirit came down in power, touching each person present with the extraordinary presence of God. Never again would they need to visit a priest or temple or touch the person of Jesus to experience the presence of God. Instead, God’s presence now lived within, filling them with everything they needed for a holy calling.
The disciples began to speak in other languages — languages they did not previously know. Before, they cowered in fear, but now they spoke with confidence and joy, so much joy that some accused them of drunkenness. But inebriation wasn’t the reason for their transformation, it was the presence of God.
As I sat in seat 27A, I leaned hard into this truth. Alone, I didn’t have much to offer the women of West Africa. I knew this full well. Even so, I wasn’t traveling alone. I had access to an incomparable power source: the presence of God in me. The Holy Spirit promised wisdom when I felt foolish and power when I felt weak, and that meant I already had everything I needed.
The story of the disciples’ courage doesn’t end with the gift of the Holy Spirit. God delivered a second gift, one we often miss:
Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Acts 2:44-47 (CSB)
Jesus’s promised gift of the Holy Spirit was the power they needed to accomplish their mission. That gift was given in community, to a gathering of people who would soon be called the Church. The gift of the Holy Spirit to one person was something to behold, no doubt, but the gift of the Holy Spirit to a gathering of Jesus followers held the makings of a movement, a movement called Christianity — the kind of movement that would soon spread “to the ends of the earth.”
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re in good company. The truth is, you and I are ordinary individuals with ordinary means. However, we serve a God who never leaves us (Heb. 13:5) and promises that all things are possible through Him (Mt. 19:26). May we cling to Him in our need and trust that He will provide exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.
In what ways has God already shown His faithfulness and His hand in the situation you face today?
We’re thrilled to share this devotion written by Michele Cushatt in the (in)courage Devotional Bible! It’s one of more than 300 devotions found in this beautiful resource.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Loved your devotion and am enjoying illustrating my new (in)courage Bible. It’s like a new blank slate ready for new insights and revelations as I continue to read God’s Word anew. I have learned, when called to face trials, struggles, or scary new situations to remember all the times in the past that God has been faithful, and the Ebenezers I have raised to His faithfulness. Also, I know that God does not give us grace before we need it….He gives it in our exact moment of need. Just like He gave the disciples the Holy Spirit just when they needed it and not a moment before, He does the same for us. Anticipatory anxiety gets to me, but I am learning that in the clutch situations, God will show up with His grace and mercy. This gives me confidence for the next time around. Thank you for a concrete example as a reminder this am.
Michele Cushatt says
My dad used to always tell me, “God is seldom early, but He is never late.” Grace just when we need it, in just the amount we need. Every time. <3
Michele Morin says
Thank you for thinking out loud here today–I often find myself trying to process the same difficult equation, measuring my own inadequacies and inability to enter fully into the suffering of others against the weight of a calling that requires handling the Words of Jesus with integrity and compassion. Thanks be to God that He is sufficient and His Good News is the most important offering I can share.
Michele Cushatt says
Oh, yes. I so get this, Michele. He is sufficient.
VERY encouraging!! Thank you for sharing!
Michele Cushatt says
So glad, Jessica. xo
Martha Wellsl says
this is just what I needed this morning . I had suffered a head concussion that has affected me in different ways
taking my employer to small claims court. However they have lawyers the very best. and that is out of my financial ability . After reading this devotion this morning . I know I have to stop fretting and leave it at the feet of the Lord and he will direct my path. how encouraging this devotion has been to me. I feel so blessed. knowing that my Lord is in control. and he will direct me in the right direction. I should have known that but believe I was caught up in anger and now I will leave it at the feet of the LOrd. I have been blessed so many times. I had spend many years in a wheelchair but I always knew I would walk in Gods time and I have praise be to our LORD.
Thanks for this message this morning.
Michele Cushatt says
Your courage and TRUST inspire me, Martha. He will direct you and, even better, He will be WITH YOU. Every step. I’m learning the emotions I experience are real and valid. I can feel them, honor them, and still put myself at His feet over and over again and again. That’s the secret to peace, I believe … choosing His feet, His presence and validation, over everyone else’s. With you, my friend.
Becky Beresford says
Thank you, Michele!
This was so good! There are many times in ministry or motherhood or marriage that I feel “less than”, like I don’t have as much to offer as the next amazing woman. But Jesus continues to show me HE has picked me to do exactly what He’s called me to do, just as I am… So when I ask, “why me, Lord?!”, He answers “Well, why NOT if I am with you.”
Such beautiful words that I don’t think I could ever hear enough. Thanks you, again! 🙂
All of God’s best to you,
Michele Cushatt says
Oh, yes! So beautifully said, Becky!
Niki Hardy says
Thank you for sharing. So often I disqualify myself even though I know that I know the Lord has said “Go.”
At the end of the day, who am I to argue?
He has told me to go, given me everything I need along the way, and sent His Spirit to guide and strengthen me.
Knowing I’m not the only one who feels inadequate as I take my steps of obedience is so comforting.
Pearl Allard says
Thank you, Michele. This is exactly what I needed right now. Feeling my humanness and needing a reminder of God’s power and His people. So grateful for both! Thank you.
Praying for you and the words of encouragement you will bring upon the people in Africa. God’s plans are always better than what we could ever plan for. May you be the fire for them and the light, bringing them the word of truth. Safe travels and thanking God for women like you, women of courage. Thank you for sharing..
Becky Keife says
The Holy Spirit. Community. Yes. Two of God’s most spectacular, powerful gifts! May we not take them for granted.
Beth Williams says
Wonderful devotion! God has shown up in more ways than I can count. Just when I think I’ve hit a snag-trial I can’t handle-I remember David & Goliath. In his own strength David couldn’t defeat Goliath, but with God ALL things are possible. I simply call out to Him & He gives me the strength I need to handle each and every situation. There was a time I felt quite inadequate for the “job”. My aging dad’s dementia was so bad he had to be hospitalized. Wasn’t sure how to handle it or what to do. I simply cried out to God, had friends pray with & for me. God healed him & showed me I can handle anything in His strength! Now my faith is stronger & mature than ever. I know in Christ I can do ALL things!! Whatever He asks of me I know He will equip me to do!!