We all settled back to listen as the young woman stood up to share. She’d been working overseas for several years and was now home for her first break.

Tentatively she looked around at us and, without warning, burst into tears. I don’t want to go back, she sobbed. I can’t do it anymore.  In faltering words she continued to explain… she wasn’t qualified to do this… she felt totally inadequate.

I don’t think there was a dry eye in the building as she finished and stumbled back to her seat.

She did go back. She not only returned to the place God had called her, but after a decade, realised that she was doing things she’d never dreamt of doing; developing and using gifts she never knew she had. It was obvious that God was using her in a unique and challenging situation where a more confident, qualified person would possibly never dare to go.

Moses didn’t want to go. ‘Who am I,’ he said to God, ‘that I should go?’ In other words, why choose me? Wouldn’t others do a better job?

Even after all God’s promises to him, he was still arguing, ‘But what if they don’t believe me, or won’t listen to me?’

Gideon also had something to say to God. ‘My clan is the weakest and I’m the least important in my family,’ he argued. Gideon didn’t just go but chose to trust God in a humanly impossible challenge.

And then there was Jeremiah. He, too, had excuses, fears and absolutely no confidence. He didn’t want to go. I don’t know how to speak. I’m only a child. He had all the excuses, but he still went.

Although they each felt weak and ill-equipped, they obeyed and were to learn that it was in their weakness that God’s own people, as well as nations around them, would see God’s power.

Christ spoke these words to his disciples, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Without me you can do nothing.’ This is in total conflict with what we hear around us. We’re not encouraged today to be vulnerable. No way! I hear the words, you can do anything you want to! Belief in our own self-sufficiency, is what I hear being promoted today.

Paul learnt and could testify that when he was at his weakest God’s power became evident to those around him. He could testify to the paradox that, when he was weak then he was strong!

Do I truly desire to see God’s power at work in my own life and in those around me? Oh, yes, I sing, I live to your glory, but do I? Am I prepared to become vulnerable (i.e. risk looking weak and foolish); to say to God, ‘here I am, Lord, with all my dreams and plans, use me today to your glory and yours alone?’ Am I? I’m not sure…