Nothing to fear but fear itself...


Today's thought:

2 Timothy 1:7-8, "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God."

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a gospel of comfort or safety. God wants to teach us trust. To learn how to trust God you must find yourself, at times, in some precarious or possibly disastrous positions. You must find yourself looking at fear in the eye. A spirit of power, love and self-discipline have no purpose if all we have known are comfortable moments of ease. God will put you in situations that will make you uncomfortable or uneasy so that in trusting Him and doing the right thing you can conquer fear. President Roosevelt, encouraging a nation at war, quipped, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." I would have to add, "if God is for you." For if God is for you who could stand against you (Romans 8:31) and therefore not being able to conquer our fear is the only thing we should fear.

Michael Ramsden, a Director at the Oxford Center for Apologetics, shared the following true story about a minister from Iran. As the minister was driving with his wife, they stopped in a small Iranian village to purchase some water. Before entering, the minister noticed a man holding a machine gun and leaning against the wall outside the store. The minister's wife looked at the man's face and the gun, then put a Bible in her husband's hand and said, "Give that man this Bible." Her husband looked at the man—his menacing beard and his machine gun—and replied, "I don't think so." But she persisted: "I'm serious. Give it to him. Please, give him the Bible."

Trying to avoid the issue, the husband said, "Okay, I'll pray about it." He went into the shop, purchased the water, climbed back into the car, and started to drive away. His wife looked at him and said, "I guess you didn't give him the Bible, did you?" Looking straight ahead, he replied, "No, I prayed about it and it wasn't the right thing to do." She quietly said, "You should have given him the Bible," and then she bowed her head and started praying. At that point, he turned around and told his wife, "Fine! If you want me to die, I will."

When the minister returned to the store, the man with the machine gun was still standing against the wall. The minister approached him and placed the Bible in his hand. When the man opened it and saw it was a Bible, he started to cry. "I don't live here," he said. "I had to walk for three days in order to get to this village. But three days ago an angel appeared to me and told me to walk to this village and wait until someone had given me the Book of Life. Thank you for giving me this book."

The minister became a courageous witness for Christ. Eventually, along with many other co-workers in the Iranian church, he was martyred for his faith. [Michael Ramsden, "An Uncompromising Faith Lived Out with Grace," Just Thinking (1-26-09)]

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity.

Prayer: Our Father who is in heaven, we sometimes quake at the thought of sharing our faith by listening to your prompt. We ask forgiveness for the lack of trust we have. Today we pray for an opportunity to share our faith and believe that wherever we go You have been there first. We have nothing to fear except being conquered by fear. May You afford us the opportunity to prove our trust in You. In Jesus name, amen.