In the early 1980s, I was asked to teach a lesson for an adult Sunday School class at the small country church we attended near Lake City, SC. I reluctantly accepted the invitation, but was terrified at the prospect. I was an elementary school teacher and the very thought of teaching adults scared me to death. In fact, I really only liked to speak with adults on a one to one basis. Compounding the problem was the fact that one of the class members was the principal at the school in which I taught. I truly didn’t know how I could succeed.
During the week, I made attempts to study and develop the lesson, but I didn’t think I was making any progress. My fear continued to grow and by early Sunday morning, I was confined to the bathroom! I had made myself ill. There was no way I could even get to the church. Ashamedly, I had to call the class leader and explain my problem. Needless to say, I was never asked to teach the class again.
Fast forward to 2003. Jim and I had moved to Conway and I had joined a ladies’ adult Bible class. It was relatively small with about eight ladies present each Sunday. After a few months, a dear lady of about eighty-five years of age asked me to teach a lesson the following week. I truly loved this dear woman and wanted to please her so without thinking I immediately responded, “Yes!” No sooner had the word left my mouth, my heart began racing and I was consumed with fear and dread. When I reached home, I shared my dilemma with Jim, explaining my previous attempt to teach. I felt lost and abandoned and was so afraid I would let this lady down.
Twenty years had passed and my faith in our Lord had definitely grown during this time. I diligently began studying the lesson plan in the teaching manual, praying for God to guide me and looking to Jim for moral support. Jim was very encouraging and the lesson began to make sense. I began to feel that this might be possible. When Sunday arrived, I was able to go to class and present the lesson. The ladies were all very sweet and complimented my effort. I did the best I could and that comforted me, but I pledged to God that I would continue to learn and grow along with the class.
Looking back on this experience, it reminds me of Peter in Matthew 14, asking Jesus to enable him to walk on water. Peter was able to do so until he became frightened by the wind and took his eyes off Christ. My problem in the 1980s was that my faith was not strong enough and I neglected to focus on God and the strength He would give me to get through this task. I never thought to pray and ask His help! Now I know that if I keep my focus on the Lord He will provide everything I need to succeed in my service to Him. God is always there, but we need to reach out to Him and focus on His presence.