Lord I Need You, I’m Afraid

Do you struggle with fear?

I know I do. I learned to be afraid of storms as a child because of the fear demonstrated by two adults in my life. I continue to struggle with this fear even after all these years.

Fear can paralyze me in an instant. A little over a year ago when I was going to have surgery and I started to read about what I had to go through, I became very anxious.  The fear and anxiety were overwhelming.

There are so many times fear can engulf our hearts, and we need only cry out, “Lord, I need You!” The Lord has many lessons to teach us in the circumstances that life brings. I remember one that occurred just prior to my surgery. I had decided to take a walk, and as I walked I was talking to the Lord about all of the fear within. I rambled on and on, hoping to somehow find some relief for the anxiety within. My thoughts were racing, my brain was conjuring up all kinds of awful possibilities. And then suddenly, “PEACE, BE STILL.” The words literally stopped me in my tracks. The raging sea of anxiety calmed immediately. How had I forgotten that God was with me? How had I overlooked the fact that He would be with me during the surgery?

How do we forget God and His great power to help us through the fearful times in our lives?

The Israelites forgot too. In Numbers 13 we learn that the Lord had instructed Moses to send spies to scout out the land of Canaan. The Israelites wer finally getting close to entering the Promised Land. So Moses followed the Lord’s instruction by sending one man from each of the 12 tribes. Before they went he gave them a list of things to evaluate as they traveled. They were to see if the people living in Canaan were strong or weak and if there were many or few. They were to check out the land and see if it was good or bad, whether it was fertile or unproductive. They were to see if the people lived in encampments or in fortified cities. And they were told to also bring back some of the fruit that grew there.

The trip took the twelve men 40 days. When they came back to give their report, of course, the men had different viewpoints regarding what they had seen. Our level of faith leads us to see the same obstacles in different ways. Ten of the men shared how daunting the large, fortified cities were and how strong the people were. When the Israelites heard this they became very riled up. So much so, that when Caleb wanted to speak he had to quiet the group down. Caleb told the group that they definitely should go and conquer the land. His idea wasn’t popular after hearing what the other men had to say. Caleb knew that the Lord would be with them and he trusted that the Lord would be their help. Yet, the other spies went on with their report causing the Israelites to fear even more as they talked about the giants of Nephilim.

When fear overtakes us it is an obvious sign that our trust is dissipating. Our trust is God diminishes. We forget the truth that God is who He has told us He is, and that He can do what He says He can do. When fear takes over the giants only increase in size and strength. Our God becomes a dwarf in comparison. Our thinking becomes skewed and all hope is lost.

Have you been there? Maybe you are there now? What insurmountable giants stand before you? Is it disease? Or an upcoming surgery? Maybe you’re in the midst of a messy divorce that causes you fear. Or is it a job loss which means a loss of income?

When we look at circumstances with faithless eyes, we see with fear all that is coming at us. When we remember God’s faithfulness and look at circumstances with trusting hearts suddenly the giants are conquerable because our God is a great God.

Deuteronomy 31:5 tells us: “Be strong and courageous, don’t be terrified or afraid of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

The Lord goes with us. He won’t leave us no matter where this life takes us. Psalm 91 promises that the Lord will deliver us. It says that we can take refuge under His wing and He will cover us with His feathers. What a beautiful picture of safety and security. The truths of the Lord’s faithfulness will be our shield of protection. We can count on Him.

Jeremy Camp’s song “The Same Power” says that the same power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead is the power we have access to. The Lord can calm the raging sea and I know from personal experience He can calm the anxiety and fear raging in my heart.

If you are living in fear today, remember God. Remember His loving presence, call on Him, you are not alone.

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Starting Anew

 

Happy New Year!

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former thing, do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” 

Our God is a God of renewal, restoration, and hope. This verse in Isaiah is a verse of renewed hope. The Lord wanted the Israelites to stop looking back at what was past, at what they left behind. The Israelites were in captivity when Isaiah wrote this and their minds were stuck on what had been. 

You know how that goes, when things go bad you think back to what the good old life was like before it all turned sour. When we get stuck or imprisoned in the problems of this life, we often wonder why God doesn’t change the situation. We may think why doesn’t He make it better according to what we think would be best. We may wonder why He ever allowed it to get this bad in the first place. We forget that no matter what, God has the best plan laid out.

Here we are at the beginning of a brand new year, we have set goals, and dreamed dreams of what we desire to take place. We think ahead to all of the possibilities, to what we want God to do in our lives.

We may have even taken time to look back over 2016. Just taking some moments to time review it in our minds. We may have smiled at our successes, remembering the people and things that brought us joy. Maybe we thought  about the things that went wrong, where we failed miserably, or about the goals that we didn’t meet.

We may have recognized and come to terms with how often failed to please God. Maybe we made poor choices, or didn’t even seek Him. We may  now realize how desperate we are to receive forgiveness and how we need the Lord’s wisdom in order to move forward.

The new year is a good time to take stock of all of that. It is a time to consider where the Lord is leading you. What opportunities is He making available to you?  Sometimes we realize the places we feel He is leading us are scary places that fill us with fear. A new job, a different town or state, a cut in our salary, or a crippling disease. Changes in life are often unexpected and frequently unwanted. We feel safe in the status quo. But we don’t learn trust when everything is going well. We often lose sight of God in times of self-sufficiency.

So,  in this new year, no matter what you are dealing with, remember the Lord will make a way when it seems impossible.

Isaiah 51:10 says,  “Was it not You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep,  who made the depths of the sea a pathway for the redeemed to cross over?” 

Yes, it was You Lord! You are the one who gives us hope, who leads us through the impossible, and You are the one who gives us victory.

The Lord is able to make a way through whatever place or predicament we are in. And what is so beautiful is that it doesn’t matter to Him how we got there. His love overcomes it all. We can start anew now in 2017, no matter what our past has been. He is with us to lead us, we must only seek Him, trust Him, and follow Him.

There are no guarantees that it will be easy, in fact, He often waits for us to step out in faith. The Israelites, led by Joshua, had to walk into the waters of the Jordan River before the waters parted. They had to get the soles of their feet wet in the flooding river before God parted the water (see Joshua 3). It is as if God was asking them,  do you trust Me enough to move forward before I clear the path?

God calls us, leads us, and equips us for what He has for us. He gives us feet for the path He puts us on. We need to look ahead and move forward with courage and expectation as we begin 2017 trusting that God has a perfect plan for us. All that He has for us comes out of his heart of unconditional love.

My prayer for us is this:

Lord, Help us to start anew in 2017 with steadfast faith in You, believing that You have the perfect plan and will make a way for us. Thank you Lord for Your unfailing love, thank You for Your amazing grace. Our hope is in You alone. Lead us and guide us, moment-by-moment, step-by-step, through 2017. And Lord, may all we do be for Your glory and honor. In Jesus holy name. Amen. 

May your new year be full of many blessimgs.

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