We are responsible for our lives but there comes a time when we are overwhelmed by the responsibility that has been thrust upon us. We fear we are not doing enough in a given situation or we fear we are not doing the right thing. But God has an answer to our fears:
With faith, let us recognize God’s responsibility to handle what we can’t. Happy Sunday.
Some people don’t like reading the Bible because it speaks of fearing God. But the kind of fear it speaks of is a reverential fear; more like holding God in awe, not being afraid of him as we would be afraid of an axe murderer.
Whenever I am reading the Bible and come across the word fear I replace it with the word awe. In that way I know what it means to respect going against his teachings. Why would I want to? It is with awe that I view the universe and a newborn baby, both of which he designed and created. It is with awe that I read the words spoken by Jesus after being nailed to the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Who does that?
So, yes, there are two types of fear; the fear felt when confronted with the terrors of the world, and the healthy fear (awe) felt when confronted with the teachings of God who himself said to Jacob in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Another of those teachings is about the birth of Jesus where we read in Luke 2:10-12: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
There was a recent incident in my life which could have caused me fear and the need for protection. I felt neither. Instead, I made a conscious decision to support the person involved and later prayed for confirmation that the right decision had been made. Within minutes a flock of five blue jays appeared in my yard. That seemed strange because I rarely see a blue jay. I googled that bird and read:
This bird may symbolize protection and fearlessness. If blue jays appear in your life you will feel safe and protected.
I know of a few people who have been recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, including Alex Trebek, well known host of the TV game show, Jeopardy. This is a very frightening diagnosis and these people need our prayers. An extremely appropriate scripture appeared to me in my quiet time yesterday and I thought of all of these people. As much as it is possible for some, and to all others, happy Sunday.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
It is evening time on August 13th and I am looking at a beautiful rainbow as I write this. It reminds me of a time when I gave a book of children’s Bible stories to a little girl many years ago.
The child saw the story of Noah’s Ark and the accompanying picture of people, including children, drowning in the great flood of Genesis 7. This story had a devastating effect on the little girl and I’m sure turned her mind totally away from anything to do with God.
Unfortunately, the story was never satisfactorily explained to her nor the meaning of the rainbow that followed in Genesis 9:13, I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
This was God’s promise to Noah, and all of us, that He would never again do such a destructive thing to His people.
I’ve never been sure whether the flood story is allegory or not, but one thing I am sure of is that it’s effect on one little girl has haunted me since the day I was made aware of her great fear and apprehension.
Just as the rainbow of thousands of years ago was meant to be an apology from God to His people, this evening’s rainbow reminds me that because of a cruelly depicted story, a young child may have grown up to be an unbeliever…and for this I am truly sorry.
I pray that there has been enough evidence over the years of a God who loves her unconditionally and will continue to do so for the rest of her life.
How many of us suffer from fear on a daily basis or even just occasionally? My last bout of fear was in 2005 while waiting for confirmation of a cancer diagnosis. It was a mind and body numbing fear until the verdict came in and I had to face it…the fear and the cancer.
Here are a few things the Bible has to say about being afraid along with that delightful song, “Whistle a Happy Tune” from the 1956 movie, The King and I.
Do not be afraid for I am with you. Genesis 26:24 NIV
The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NIV
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. Hebrews 13:6
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Proverbs 3:24
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 1:8
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
“Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:36
These are a few teachings from scripture that have helped me as well as others overcome fear at one time or another.
In his book “God’s Psychiatry”, Charles L. Allen writes this:
Possessing God’s power enables us to face life with enthusiasm; it gives us a deep inward peace because we are not afraid of tomorrow. There comes into our lives an inner joy that outward circumstances cannot reach. Because God is within us, and because God is love, there flows out from us a love for others that sweeps away all prejudices, jealousy and hate.
It seems that in today’s world where false power is overriding reason, we need all the antidotes we can get. God’s power is fear’s antidote. Why not draw on it and be part of the antidote that sweeps away all prejudices, jealousy and hate…why not?
Prayer number seven in Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To is God, Give Me Courage. Here is an excerpt from this chapter:
C. S. Lewis said that “courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point, which means at the point of highest reality”. In saying this he was following in the tradition of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, who believed that all the virtues–if they are to be of any practical value–must act with a “firmness” that can only be maintained by courage. In other words, for a person to be honest or merciful or chaste or magnanimous or patient, he must first have the courage to overcome all the obstacles that stand in the way of practicing those virtues. At some point, strong temptations are going to present themselves. That’s the moment when courage is most important. Essentially, a person must have the guts not to give in. Courage–or fortitude, as it used to be called–is needed in life to do any kind of good or resist any kind of evil. You need courage to follow all the commandments, to face physical danger, to overcome fears, both rational and irrational. You need courage to struggle against neuroses and phobias, to overcome addictions, to persevere through life’s difficulties, to endure suffering. That’s why Churchill wrote that “courage is rightly considered the foremost of virtues, for upon it all others depend.” And why Franklin Roosevelt said “the only thing to fear is fear itself.” Both of these leaders understood the all encompassing importance of courage.
My prayer for courage came when a message was left on my answering machine to call the specialist mentioned in the previous chapter. But the problem was, the message was left at 11 a.m. and he wasn’t going to be available until 1 p.m. I admit it…I was afraid! That two hours seemed like two years! Fear permeated my body for that two hours and I did not want to make that phone call. I wanted to pretend it didn’t exist and I could just get on with my life. As 1 p.m. approached, after praying to be relieved of the fear, my prayer was now for the courage to make the phone call. And I did. “There’s cancer in the top lobe of your right lung.” My new-found courage took over as the specialist explained the procedures to take place in the next two weeks. Fear now took a back seat to the courage God provided me with for the next twelve months of surgery and treatments. (This year is my tenth cancer-free year!) TYG!
Tomorrow: Sometimes being Smart Just Isn’t Enough…God, Give Me Wisdom