It’s probably not a very promising sign of future ‘leadership’ when someone get’s up to speak in public for the first time, but instead of giving a compelling speech, they simply ‘faint’ in front of the audience and have to be dragged off the stage. This is exactly what happened to Ray Barnett in the Guildhall in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, when he was a teenager and attempting to speak in public for the first time.
Ray’s embarrassing incident turned out to be a small price to pay in terms of the lesson learned. Ray gained a valuable insight into the limitations of his own ‘natural ability’ but more importantly, he discovered Mark 10:27, “With man this is impossible, but not with God: all things are possible with God. Ray realised that if he was going to achieve anything significant for God, then he would need to look beyond his own resources and depend on God.
Ray decided not to allow his first bad experience at public speaking ‘define’ him. Although he suspected that maybe he wasn’t being called to speak in public, he determined that if God did call him he would obey – even if that meant fainting again and again until such times as he learned how to operate in God’s strength.
As it turned out within a short space of time, Ray became a much sought after public speaker and was able to address thousands of people without fear or dread. But that important lesson of trusting in the God of the impossible also became the reason he was able to believe God for miracles in the Soviet Union, Africa and the Middle East, when time after time he encountered situations that in the ‘natural’ were impossible with men, but possible with God.