We say Yes to following God. That is the total desire of our heart. We want to worship Him with our whole being. What gets in the way? What fear jumps in the road and blocks our total abandonment?
Reading scriptures over and over. Is that the trick? Receiving all stars for knowing the memory verses we studied in Sunday School should count for something —Right? Going to Church Services every Sunday. Why doesn’t that make fears big and small flee?
I prayed while sitting in between my son and daughter while riding to the MSP airport. We were on our way to visit our relatives in Orlando this last December. Before we turned into the lanes where friends were to drop us off, my heart started racing:
- Would I be able to walk through the upcoming challenge knowing exactly what I am to do?
- Where is my passport?
- If I am asked a question, will my mind go completely blank and I just stand there?
- Will I be able to walk straight over the metal detector or will the beeper go off letting everyone know someone (me) is holding up the long line?
Don’t beat yourself over the head when experiencing fear of any kind. Instead, ask why is the emotion coming over you? Is a message, big or little, being shared through this circumstance? .
Throughout the scriptures, God declares and reveals His authority. Events began in tremendous fear, but it was in walking through His lead where peace flowed.
Joshua knew it was his responsibility to lead the Israelites. Moses died. Joshua had become the new leader. Joshua was fearful. Joshua questioned would these people give him the same trust as they gave to Moses? Many reasons for a panic attack.
The relationship God and Joshua already had caused this man to go to God and seek guidance. Here are the words of encouragement Joshua received:
Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”
Joshua 1:8 MSG.
The beauty of Joshua’s Yes was exposed in his fear. He cried out to God. God gave Joshua exactly the words he needed. The encouragement called out the courage God put inside Joshua allowing him to do the YES.
In the empty slots not covered in scriptures when Joshua walked by himself, did fear try to grip his thoughts? Possibly, but Joshua was true in keeping his eyes and heart set to the direction pointed toward God. Knowing God surrounded him, Joshua was able to lay the fear where it needed to go and receive strength.
God gives strong words to Joshua ( Don’t be timid) and to Isaiah ( So Fear Not) in real times of real need. God promises ” God is with you every step” , and “I will strengthen you and help you.” These are not just words of a command to do something. It is through the relationship of love already flowing between God and these men where this truth is shared and received.
In hands of a loving God, fear can be a tool showing me something, or exposing something. In the airport, I was completely surrounded in myself. I got antsy. I got nervous about my passport. I made the beeper go off and needed to be checked. (I was wearing a metal belt. Not the smartest thing.) I was anxious and fearful of looking stupid.
It is a small fear, but still a tool to which God graciously used.
Fear can stop me from being the person God created me to be. It can loom large, but is it really more than silly threads I can cut with the Sword of the Spirit?
In this fear, my head had no room to hear God’s still quiet voice telling me “I love you My precious Daughter, do not be afraid”. I was protecting myself in my fear where I would usually be open to hear His voice to see if anyone might be in need of prayer because of their anxiety.
The beauty of saying YES to our Father doesn’t matter whether the situation is as grand as leading the Israelites to the Promise Land or going through all the airport ins and outs. God is taking the hand of the one who is listening. It is an adventure to the one He is guiding, to the one obeying.
It is far more than repeating verses. It is having a conversation with the One who loves me and the One I love. It is recognizing my weakness and my need. I empty myself and receive His strength.
As you release fears to the One who created the Universe, look to see if God is teaching you something in and through the process. Be free to worship as you were created.