In the past couple of days I’ve spent at least five hours talking with individuals who are wrestling with fear. In this context, it’s mostly about going on short-term missions trips. For some, they’ve carried a desire to go for years but have never taken the first step. For others, this is a new consideration and they’re scared silly.
What are the fears?
- What if I can’t raise the funds?
- What if my family thinks I’m nuts?
- What if my church doesn’t support me?
- What if I don’t have anything to offer?
- What if I get sick?
- What if I can’t sleep at night?
- What if I can’t find someone to look after my pet while I’m away?
- What if it changes my life? Then what?
I address their what-ifs as best as I can, but I believe the only question of concern is this: Is God telling me to go? If so, then it’s time to start walking even if you have to walk afraid.
The fears expressed aren’t only about missions trips. They’re just the evidence of something much deeper – a lack of trust in the God who loves them, promises His presence, and holds them in His hand. And where does that lack of trust come from? From a faulty or incomplete understanding of His character, and from focusing on our inadequacies/obstacles rather than on His adequacies and ability to remove those obstacles.
Joshua 21:43-45 encourage and challenge me in my own fear-versus-faith walk: “So the Lord gave to Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as He solemnly promised their ancestors. None of their enemies could stand against them, for the Lord helped them conquer all their enemies. Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything He had spoken came true.”
God commanded Israel to take possession of the land. He could have done it single-handedly, but He asked them to face their enemies and fight the battle. Were they scared? Probably. But they moved forward even if they had to do it afraid. And when they did, God gave them victory. They experienced all His promises, but only after they moved into action.
I’ve seen this prove true in my own life over and over again – from writing books to traveling overseas for ministry to trusting God for finances on a monthly basis. Each scenario forced me to make a decision, and how I responded revealed what I believed to be true about God. Did I think He was trustworthy, or did I not? Thankfully He gave me the faith to believe and I said yes. I’ve never been sorry, and I’ll never go back. I’ve seen God do some amazing things; I doubt that would have been the case if I’d said no.
Fear can either keep us in chains or it can be a catalyst for us to know God more intimately. To experience His rest. And to see His promises fulfilled. The choice is ours. The choice is yours. What will it be?