The words rang loud and clear through my spirit as I prepared myself for my first public book reading at Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
Having participated in previous book signing events, I assumed a book reading wouldn’t be much different and was really looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I hadn’t anticipated struggling with an intrusive thought just a few days prior to the event.
"What if Jesus was not the Son of God and the way to salvation?"
Where did this come from? I wondered silently. I could not comprehend how such a horrendous question could pop into my mind. After all, I was a Christian I told myself.
I tried my best to duck and dodge the appalling question then finally decided to talk to God about it.
"Why am I questioning what I believe after all this time? Is there a problem here?"
I didn’t receive an immediate answer but after some time in prayer, a sense of peace came over me. A few days later I headed to Barnes & Noble feeling everything would be all right.
Originally, I was scheduled for one reading in which I carefully pre-planned the portion I would share. However, upon arriving, I was informed that I would be reading more than once.
Completely unprepared for the second reading, I skimmed through the pages and prayed for direction. I stopped at one of the devotions titled, The Spirit of Fear, and felt the Lords prompting.
"Read this." He simply said.
As I quickly scanned the pages, I realized that out of all the devotions in my book, the name of Jesus was mentioned most in this particular one.
My heart began to race. For it was at this moment that it dawned on me that I had been so excited about being at Barnes & Noble, I hadn’t considered it was a secular bookstore. Sure, they sold some Christian books, but for the most part, it was considered a non-Christian environment and I was about to blurt out the name of Jesus for all to hear.
It was one thing for me to share the name of Jesus when speaking at ladies group at church, or when writing a book or an article but quite different when sharing in a potential lions den such as a secular bookstore.
Immediately, I became aware that people in the store might have their own strong beliefs that had nothing to do with Jesus. Suddenly, I was confronted with a crisis of belief, a turning point that either make me or break me.
That’s when I heard Him speak.
"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before me, I will disown him before my Father in heaven."
With a few simple words, I was given a choice. Acknowledge Jesus as Lord before the people or disown Him.
I recalled the "what if" question that had bombarded my mind a few days before. Then it hit me.
I understood how God in His mercy had allowed me to check what I believed, knowing I would face this moment of fear, this crisis of belief.
I took a deep breath, considered my options then revealed my choice. I held the microphone close to my mouth and began to read, The Spirit of Fear while proclaiming the name of Jesus throughout Barnes & Noble as loud as possible.
I wondered while reading if there was a lost soul browsing the book shelves startled and amazed to hear over the intercom that Jesus was the way and God did not give them a spirit of fear.
I discovered that day, that the more I acknowledge Jesus by sharing with others, the more I sense His presence and know He acknowledges me before the Father in Heaven.