I figured we would start this post off very simply. I am very afraid, but that’s okay. I’ll rewind a sec; I’m a pretty simple guy who loves to write and help people discover their God given purpose in life. But my fears are real. I will be finishing up school soon, which means I have to start figuring the core of life out. That whole job thing is kinda important to provide for myself and a family one day. I want to write books and be in next generation ministry, and that excites me, but it can feel like an army that I have to overtake to get there. It’s easy for me to get anxiety over things, the little things like being on time or registering for classes, and it messes with me. I try to do the right things and take the right steps, but it can feel like I’m doing all the wrong things and making it harder for myself. I think we all have struggles like this. Fear is something that can so quickly enter our lives and make us want to hide away for a while. I want to hide away. Thankfully, God has so much grace for me, he is able to pull me out of the moments where I just want to quit and says that he has more for me. He says this about all of us, and he tells us to fear not.
Over the past month I’ve been writing about b-movies and their ability to teach me, but today I simply want to talk about facing fear. Seems fitting since I’m writing this on Halloween, a day designed to scare away evil, that and get candy from your neighbors. Fear is a very real thing, it is one of our most primal emotions, and we face some pretty heavy stuff. Things like drug abuse, alcoholism, depression, abuse, suicide, and the list goes on. These things surround our life, and we have all either experienced some or witnessed someone close to us go through these events that can cause great fear. We have a good father, one who over and over in the bible commands us to fear not. One of the best examples of this is Joshua. No not me, the guy from the bible, he was waaay cooler. Joshua was made leader of the Israelites after Moses passed away, which was a big deal. Joshua had to lead an entire nation, he had to make sure they were safe and following God’s commands, and the Israelites weren’t the best at this. In the book of Joshua, I like to think that he and I think the same way (I mean that’s how it works when you have the same name, right?), I would feel so terrified of this responsibility, not because I wouldn’t accept, but because of the lives that were at stake. We don’t get the inner thoughts of Joshua, but God responds to him and his fear. He begins by re-assuring Joshua that he will give him the confidence conquer the lands he presented for the people. Then God speaks to him directly about his life and the anxieties he had for the future. “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 (Joshua 1:9).” Probably one of the most well-known verses in scripture but it perfectly illustrates how much grace God has for us even when we are terrified of the things around us. You see even in the midst of chaos and it feels like there isn’t a way out, God tells us to fear not.
I really should talk about this more when I write. Grace is the love that God shows to us, a people that don’t deserve his love. We are sinners, since the fall, there has been a disconnect between God and man. Because of this, God sent his son to pay the ultimate price on our behalf, to die for us taking on all of our sins. He rose again on the third day, allowing us to enter into a relationship with him. We have all made mistakes, especially me. I’ve done things I’m not proud of, said things I wish I could take back, treated others poorly; but God still sent his son for me. He sent his son for you, no matter what you have or will do. This is vital to our battle with fear, we need to understand that God is fighting on our behalf. Our relationship is not a following a set of impossible rules, it’s the fact that we come to God with all of our imperfections and he calls us his son and daughter. He forgives us and guides us. We are his children, made in his image, and we are found in him. That is what grace means to us.
This can be difficult, because it’s hard to admit our own faults and weaknesses. An authentic walk means admitting that you’re not perfect, and that’s a good thing. Never trust anyone that pretends to be perfect. We all screw up and we all have struggles. We need to be authentic with other believes, they can keep us accountable. Many fears can come from the issues we hide, and the enemy loves when we hide in the darkness. In the darkness we are suffocated by our mistakes. When we bring our struggles to light, the darkness flees, allowing us to walk in freedom. Joshua was scared and he was by no means a perfect person, but he was honest with God, and God met him in his weakness. When we are authentic with God, he comforts us and lets us know that we don’t have to fear when he is with us.
We can accept God’s gift of grace and be authentic in our walk, but until we trust him, our fears will choke us of life. The coolest moment in this first chapter of the book of Joshua is at the end where Joshua fully trusts in the Lord. He decides that God is stronger than anything they may face and he fully takes on the role of leading the people. The people see this and respond by saying, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:16-18)!” When he decided to trust, the people saw his example and followed. We need to trust God with everything, and when we do, the world will see our example and follow. Trust can be difficult, but when the creator of all things speaks to us saying, fear not, there is power when we fully trust in him.
Fear is a powerful emotion that can alter every aspect of our lives. It’s something that has attacked me for a long time. The what-ifs make my mind race and the fear of not achieving my purpose causes me to want to run away from it all, but I won’t. I won’t let fear control me. I follow the creator of all things, who formed every part of me, he conquered death and took all of my sins upon his shoulders. He did the same for you. No matter what you are facing or ever will face, God is greater than it. I know because I’ve experienced it, and am currently experiencing it. When events happen and you ask why this could happen, when you are facing people that hate you for a reason that you never even caused, or when it seems like the future is so terrifying; God whispers in each of our ears. He simply tells us to fear not, and in those simple words, we find freedom.
No matter what you are facing, remember that God tells you fear not, because he has won the war.