How many times has fear stopped you dead in your tracks?
It’s debilitating when anxiety and worry leave you in regret; those darned what if’s and could have beens. On the other hand how many times has fear saved your life? Has healthy caution ever saved you from a bad relationship or dangerous situation? I want to take a deeper look at fear and faith. God calls us to be brave. So, how do we interact with our fears in a way that pleases God?
I was stopped at the cross walk today waiting for the sign to turn. It never did. It was safe to cross. There were no cars. The guy on the other side of the street was crossing and a girl walking her dog even headed over the white stripes my way. I wondered should I walk or play it safe and follow the rules. Should I wait for the sign or go for it? By the time I was done thinking it over the traffic light turned red and I knew my time was up. I doubt I really missed a big opportunity but that’s beside the point. The situation revealed a part of my nature I am not so fond of. I overthink things too much. When I see it’s safe I sometimes don’t act. I think and I think and the opportunity escapes me. May the Lord have mercy on me when I make big life decisions! I wan’t to encourage you that if you feel timid about something and you know it’s safe, don’t be like me waiting and the stop light to turn, GO FOR IT.
2 Timothy 1:7 For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self discipline.
Also, I want to reassure you that if you are scared, that’s ok. It is normal to experience fear in the midst of trials or when confronted with things unknown or unfamiliar to oneself. God knows that we will face many intimidating things which is why he promises to be with us and gives us everything we need for victory.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
That signal of fear could mean a few different things. Turn from the situation and save yourself or dive in, die a little, and find new life. How can one tell the difference? Good fear keeps us safe. Bad fear keeps us from living the life we are meant to live. Good fear lives in the present moment. Bad fear lives in possibilities. It lives in the future or the past. Good fear speaks in truth. Jesus said,
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17
Isaiah 30:21 Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.
If you are struggling to discern the good fear from the bad fear I encourage you to ask the Lord for help. Jesus says that all those who ask, seek, and knock, will; receive, find and the door will be opened. Matthew 7,7-12. He is referring to the Holy Spirit and that is a promise of guidance in this life. Jesus died on the cross to give us this gift of course if we pray for it he will give it to us.
You will never know what is possible until you let your faith be bigger than your fear. Results are not in your control, they are in the hands that made you. This is the God who spoke all things into existence. Remember it’s ok to fail. Also remember God does not fail.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.