A few years ago, during an important meeting, I remember someone recommended that whenever you are having a hard time making a decision, you should ask the question, “What are you afraid of?” What a great question which can help to clarify why at times we find ourselves stuck and unable to move forward.
A few ponderings about fear:
— Often, the greatest accomplishments in our lives, come about only after facing fear. It’s true. Think about it in your own life. I know in my life, most if not all, of the epic things which have ever happened only came to be because I pushed through fear and decided to act. Getting married was one. It was something I had never done before, and vows like “’til death do us part” sure felt like a really big deal. I loved Sharon and wanted her to be my wife, but if you don’t have a bit of fear concerning marriage, you probably haven’t taken it seriously enough.
Having children was another area where fear had to be overcome. Will I be a good dad, will they be healthy, is it wise to bring a child into a world where so many are unwanted and unloved? Definitely important to consider. Becoming the Founding Pastor at Hope was another. I had never been a Senior Pastor, I had never planted a church, I had never preached on a weekly basis, and on-and-on. Trekking to Mt. Everest Base Camp and participating in the Dirty Kanza 200 for riding4refugees both involved a lot of fear to overcome. Can I do it? What if I fail and come up short? What are you afraid of? What is it in your life you need to push through the fear to accomplish?
— The greatest weapon to overcome fear is love. Many years ago, in India, I was deeply saddened by the amount of fear I saw in so very many people. Much of it seemed to be driven by their fatalistic, theological beliefs, such as, they were constantly on edge hoping they did not irritate one of the 330 million gods in Hinduism. But then, with our guide Samuel Stephens of the India Gospel League, when we travelled to a village in which they had planted a church and helped implement such things as providing clean water and offering training to start small businesses, there I saw very noticeable differences in the people. You could see hope, joy, and love in their eyes. Their new found understanding of the one true God who loved them and desired their love through Jesus had conquered their fear. As we are told in 1 John 4:18a, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” What are you afraid of? Whatever it might be, would your love of God and your neighbor, cause you to step out and do what you know needs to be done?
— Do not be afraid. As fallen humankind we are a fearful bunch. Ever since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden, when we blatantly and willfully disobeyed God, we have been on the run, trying to hide, making excuses, and being afraid. God knows! This is why, time and time again, the very first thing He spoke to those with whom He interacted was, “Do not be afraid.” What are you afraid of?