I Can't, But God Can!

Kwabena Arthur's Testimony

Over IAP, a short, intermittent term in January, Campus HOPE (now Adventist Christian Fellowship @ MIT) was giving three weeks of courses with topics ranging from health and wellness, biblical prophecy, and faith and science. I was chosen to give the opening lesson in our Bible prophecy series on the validity and trustworthiness of the Bible, and whether we can put our faith in God.

  Kwabena drawing the statue in the vision of Daniel 2 during a study session.

Kwabena drawing the statue in the vision of Daniel 2 during a study session.

Before the day of the seminar my only thought was how did I end up doing this? Public speaking is something I detest and something I am horrible at. Whenever I speak in front of a group of people I get nervous. My voice starts wavering and my hands begin to shake. I knew for a fact that I couldn’t possibly present because I have never been able to present in the past. Whether it is the occasional presentation in front of fellow students or a research group meeting, I’d always feel anxious and uneasy about it. With all these past experiences, I knew who I was and what I was capable of.

Even though I shared with the planning team my fear of public speaking based upon past experience, they tried to motivate me by saying, “You can do it!” and challenged me to allow God to work a miracle in me. But I know myself more than anyone and know that I won’t be able to do it.

Just a couple hours before I was about to present, I received this text message from our chaplain:

Heyoooo! A word of encouragement: But the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth’, For you shall go to all whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces. For I am with you to deliver you” says the Lord. - Jeremiah 1:7-8.

My first response to this verse was wow! I didn’t know Jeremiah had the same problem I did. And though I was about 45 minutes from the beginning of the presentation, I was feeling strangely calm. It was as though all my worrying and anxiety didn’t get the memo. And this calmness was with me 30 minutes before the start, then 15 minutes, then 5 minutes; before I even noticed it was time to begin.  After the opening word of prayer, I began presenting on trusting God through prophecy. I was surprised more than anything. The trembles in my voice didn’t happen. I didn’t speak with my mouth closed as my mother so graciously puts it. Most importantly, I didn’t feel scared or anxious. 

  Kwabena presenting the topic "Can the Bible be Trusted? A study of Daniel 2"

Kwabena presenting the topic "Can the Bible be Trusted? A study of Daniel 2"

I often told myself that it was fine that I couldn’t do public speaking. The ear doesn’t have to know how to see after all. I found every excuse as to why I had a problem I thought I shouldn’t have. But one important thing to note is that even I didn’t know what I was capable of. God had a better idea of what I was capable of than I did.

After the presentation, I spoke to some of the attendees. An older woman spoke to me and told me how her view of Daniel 2 had changed. She would continue to study it and other prophecies in the Bible. People were very positive with the feedback and most of them didn’t know what miracle God had done that day.

Part of the Christian walk is learning to trust in God and believe that He knows best and will do what’s best for us. I didn’t realize at the time that all I had to do was what I was teaching; place my trust in God. No one really appreciates difficulties. But it is when we get through them with God who strengthens us that we really learn to trust and know Him for who He truly is.

 

Kwabena Arthur is a junior studying Mechanical Engineering and Physics at MIT. He serves as the President of Adventist Christian Fellowship (ACF) at MIT. Connect with ACF at leadacf@mit.edu.