The Courage to Tell Our Stories

I couldn’t take my eyes off Kay. Her hands visibly shook as she read from the paper where she had written out her testimony, but her voice was calm and strong. Kay told the story of how Jesus had rescued her from choices that had caused her so much pain and suffering, and deeply impacted those she loved. Addictions to alcohol and gambling that she believed would fill the deep emptiness in her soul only left her more devastated. Finally free from the stronghold of things that didn’t deliver what they promised, Kay wanted to tell her story in front of her church family before she was baptized. Also in the congregation were loved ones she had invited so they could hear the reason for her radical transformation. As her close friends stood to encourage and support her, she publicly confessed her faith in Jesus. 

It takes great courage to tell our stories. It is risky to be vulnerable about our experiences, whether of our own making or the result of someone else’s decisions. It can be scary to openly align ourselves with Jesus as the reason for our hope.

In the Dictionary of Bible Themes, courage is defined as “being prepared to do dangerous or risky things in obedience to God, in the belief that he will strengthen, guard and protect his people.” This definition beautifully reminds me that when I share my story woven together with the hope of the gospel message, having courage means trusting in God and not myself. Courage is allowing his Spirit to empower me because he will be the one who strengthens and sustains me.

Telling stories of faith has always required courage. Men and women who were part of the early church needed courage to proclaim how Jesus’ resurrection had completely changed their lives. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he commissioned his disciples to share their stories of faith as part of the message that Jesus offered rescue to anyone who would believe in him. In obedience to Jesus’ command, Peter and John publicly preached throughout the city of Jerusalem. 

Arrested and put on trial, the religious and civil leaders tried to publicly humiliate them but their threats didn’t deter Peter and John. The religious leaders were baffled by Peter and John’s response. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Peter and John’s power didn’t come as the result of an excellent education that had trained them to be smooth orators. They weren’t expert debaters. They had courage and the testimony of how Jesus had transformed lives. 

The religious officials couldn’t deny the stories that Peter and John shared so they demanded that the followers of Jesus stop telling their stories. Peter and John again displayed courage in responding, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19, 20). 

When I find myself in a situation where my heart beats a little faster or my palms start to feel a little sweaty before speaking about Jesus, I remember that it was not the eloquence or biblical knowledge that gave Peter and John the power to speak. What they had seen and experienced, courageously empowered by the Spirit’s power, allowed them to boldly do what God had called them to do. It’s power that I saw Kay courageously tap into as she joyfully proclaimed all God had done in her life.


This is a composite story of several individuals that were baptized in January 2024. Since they are not my stories, I didn’t want to give specific identifying details. As a result of this being a composite story, Kay is a pseudonym.

—Written by Lisa M. Samra. Used by permission from the author.