Speak Up, God Is with You

Denise Vredevoogd

Read: Acts 18:1-11

Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city. (vv. 9-10 NIV)

I admire people who are the strong, silent type, people who usually think before speaking and know when to hold their tongue. Yet sometimes I think about a response so long that my thoughts never materialize into “a well-spoken word.” I neglect to say something important because I am afraid of confrontation, disagreements, or someone’s reaction.

In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he asks for prayer, “that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19 NIV). Paul often experienced opposition from both Jews and Gentiles, and I suspect that occasionally, he was tempted to give up when he faced protests, abuse, and misunderstanding. In today’s passage, God speaks to Paul in a vision and promises that he will protect him as he teaches the people in Corinth.

God essentially says, “Who is going to reach these people if you don’t speak up? I’m with you. Don’t worry. You’ve got this. Don’t be silent. There are people in this city I want to teach through you.” This command “Do not be afraid” is both comforting and challenging. Knowing God is on our side, if we courageously speak truth, our words can have influence beyond what we can imagine. —Denise Vredevoogd

Prayer: God, be with us, protect us, and give us the words you want us to say.