The Bible is full of commandments. The Old Testament Law was full of purification rules and sacrifices that needed to be made because of sins Jews had committed that separated them from God. There were commandments about the structure of the temples, the Ark of the Covenant, and even about the different ways to wear clothing. There is something strange that I have noticed. I know that I am not a person well advanced in years, but in 1 Timothy 4, I am empowered through the incredible calling that God has given me through His grace, purification and salvation at a younger age (verses 6-16). This said, I have been spending a lot of time in the books of Samuel and Kings. I have been awed by God’s direction and mapping of His purpose. The one commandment I have noticed ISN’T in scripture….
You may be reading this blog, hoping that I will fill you in about our flights, time in Turkey, arrival in France, the plague of a chest cold we’ve had, or any number of other things regarding this journey. I would love to, but God won’t let me. So, if that’s what you’re hoping for, scroll up to the previous blog, I am sorry to burst our bubbles, but God has kept me awake for a distinct purpose this night.
Nope, I’m not afraid. I can’t be. You see, the one commandment that is seriously lacking, to the detriment of many who may think it exists…is a commandment to be afraid. I have never read, anywhere, of God commanding us to fear anything BUT HIM. Once in awhile I will step back and look at the little of the plan we can see and I will begin a slow digression of stupid. It begins with me thinking about the challenges ahead of us (sin #1…Philippians 4:2 says DON’T be anxious). Language problems, team problems, health problems, and then I begin to move in my digression to stupid number 2 (Matthew 6:25)…which is where most of the concerns of everyone else come in. Not a month went by when I was in the states that a handful of people didn’t remind me of all of the things I should be afraid of. Usually well meaning people that just wanted to share there concerns. These are usually the obvious physical dangers. Seriously…West Africa…if they had a mascot it would be snakes! We’re going to a country full of people that look a whole lot physically like Jesus probably did, but don’t know many of His words. There is sickness, disease, and yes…as I mentioned earlier, snakes, and a very open spiritual door.
So why am I not afraid do you ask?
Because fear is a stepping stone, but not one that moves us forward. When we fear, we take our lives out of God’s hands…pretending to have enough control over those lives to protect, provide for, heal and even direct them. We are moving away from God, blindly, backwards. Imagine yourself in a forest at night walking with God. You know that He loves you above all other things He created. He is leading you, and you can’t see the way, almost as though you have a blindfold on and you are perfectly okay with that. Then, you get this inkling feeling inside. It’s not a comfortable feeling, it makes you begin to second-guess, and even doubt. The longer you think about this feeling the quieter God’s voice becomes. It began as a small feeling, but then you realize God’s voice is quieter and you panic! What if you make the wrong step? What if you fall and get hurt or worse…what if you can’t get back up?! When we have faith in God, we are in an incredible union with Him. No, it’s definitely not easy. We are told in scripture that we are “like sheep among wolves” and then this Devil slips in like a serpent, or even a hunting lion. He roars doubts at us, and we begin to try and take our lives into our hands. When we feel fear, it is an opportunity to seek faith. You see…God is strongest in our lives when we are forced to rely on Him. When we feel fear it is a chance to stop and first, cast away the devil and bind him to Hell. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind.”
Some of you may be reading this and saying “Come on Andi…these are easy verses we all know”. Some may be saying…”what is the point of this blog?? This is supposed to be an update, not a personal devo!”, but I write unashamedly addressing a question and common speculation that borders on “Are you crazy?” and is more specifically stated “Well! I am sure glad that God hasn’t called ME overseas!” In some perspectives we might seem crazy. We would rather be fools for Christ than to be anything else. Please understand that each of us is filled with an incredible design to serve Christ. One of our good friends is a beautician, and spends as much time in a week listening to people’s hearts than many therapists do! She also is a bus driver, a job that I know I could not do. My stress level would be climaxed, and I hate parking, it makes me a nervous wreck. Yet to me, she if fearless. When she does my hair she corrects me gently if I even hint to let timidity into my life. We are each to be fearless, bold and above reproach in the callings God has placed on our lives.
I hope that this blog has empowered you, encouraged you, or challenged you. Understand, as a missionary, I still have days where I think “God…I don’t want to go! What if….”, but I am quickly assured by His promises that my trust must remain in Him. I cannot live with a spirit of fear; I have seen personally the mass damage it can cause. I know the power and liberation of love, power and sound mind, and I hope this blog encouraged you to know it too!