FAITHFUL, YET AFRAID

God may ask you to do something knowing that you will be afraid to do it. He may not be expecting you to quickly lose that fear, he expects you to be courageous. Sometimes, courage doesn’t mean the absence of fear, it means going ahead to do something despite your fears, it may also mean looking away from all the uncertainties and trusting in the one who has sent you.

“I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,” – 1 Corinthians 2:3-4

Paul was going on the instruction of Jesus, with the very power of the Holy Spirit but despite all of this, Paul was afraid, he was weak and he was shy! Yet, he didn’t let these human frailties become a barrier towards fulfilling God’s plan. The Psalmist understands that there are times we could be afraid, however, the more we become scared, the more we should rely on the promises of God.

“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” – Psalms 56:3 NLT

Let me say it again in other words. Trust and faith in God doesn’t mean the absence of fear, it means our reliance on God despite our fears. Some days ago, I and my wife discussed this and we noted that even Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego were afraid when they faced the king. Their fear wasn’t pronounced but we could sense it from their words.

Let’s read

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” – Daniel 3:16‭-‬18 NLT

First, they recognized that God can save them from the blazing furnace. However, we have always been made to see their response as though they weren’t scared of the fire. They were scared of the fire but they know that God is bigger than their fears or the fire! They know that God can save them.

They voiced their fears expressly saying “But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

They weren’t certain if God wants to save them from the fire or not, but they were certain that God can save them from the fire if he wants to. They trusted God with their life, yet they had a certain fear of what the outcome would be. But regardless of their fears, they made it clear that they won’t bow before any other God.

Let’s look at another story.

Abraham is well known as the father of faith, he was so popular for his faith that to date, even unbelievers will say “Abraham” the moment you ask who the father of faith is. However, Abraham still had personal fears, these fears never meant that he didn’t trust God enough, it simply showcased his humanity.

In Genesis 12:1, the Lord said to Abraham “Leave your country, your kindred, and your father’s household, and go to the land I will show you.” Not so many verses after, we read

“As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “Look, I know that you are a beautiful woman, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Please say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake, and on account of you my life will be spared.”

As he journeyed with his wife, with the assurance that God is with them, he instructed his wife to admit that she is his sister. One could want to put some logic at work here and conclude that Sarah doubled as his sister in some sense but we know for sure that Abraham was scared that he would be killed and then his wife taken away from him.

Yet, his fears weren’t bigger than his faith in God, he obeyed God despite his fears. He didn’t decide to turn back because they could kill his wife, he simply moved ahead. God proved himself mighty in his life. We may always not know what God will do in our situations, but we know what he can do!

When God gives you a burden or lay it in your heart to do something, you’ve got to obey regardless of what your fears are. God already factored in your fears and made provisions for them! Paul wrote

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

The word “fear and timidity” here denotes “shyness”. God has given us a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. It’s only natural to be afraid in certain circumstances but our supernatural ability can superimpose the natural in those circumstances.

We can deploy the “if I perish, I perish” mentality rather than think that fear signifies the absence of the Holy Spirit. Esther was afraid but she understood that the destiny of thousands of Jews lied on her shoulders and regardless of what her fear was, it was not worth giving up to fate! She faced her fears squarely.

When the Philistines seized David at Gath, he had several thoughts which he recorded in the Psalms. The got to a point where he became really afraid but he thought

“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” – Psalms 56:3 NLT

The problem oftentimes isn’t about being afraid but what you do when you become afraid. Naturally, certain situations can trigger fear but you ought not to be lost in that fear. Abraham didn’t stop sojourning because he was afraid, Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego did not bow in fear.

We have been consistently asked not to be afraid but this doesn’t mean we will never be afraid again, it doesn’t mean we will never be faced with a fearful experience again, we can rather be encouraged and learn to trust and obey God despite our moments of fear. We can trust God enough to do what he says rather than what our fear says.

When God asks us to move, we should move regardless of our fears. The consciousness of God being with us supplies us with strength and power.

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

Stay strong! Submit your fears to God!

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