A Simple Devotional for the Times We are Afraid
Inside: Examples of fear greater than faith from my son and the Bible
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In a rash moment, I grabbed my four-year-old and threw him onto the raft. I held him down with the strength of ten thousand men.
(We have spent the last two summers on my parents’ boat. A luxury not afforded to us as kids)
Last year my then three-year-old boy refused to even touch the water. If anybody even splashed him, he shrunk back like the Wicked Witch of the West.
I let it go last year because, well, he was only three and he was as happy as a clam feeling the breeze against his face.
And he promised me he would try next year when he was a big four years old. (This promise was made right before his 4th birthday and to this day is still his favorite tactic for avoiding the unknown adventures that await him.)
So there I was…
Wrestling with my four-year-old while he tried to leap out of my arms into the water, avoiding what he thought was sure death.
As the boat lurched forward at a snail’s pace and with my son nestled between my sister and me, his river of tears slowed into a few droplets.
His tear stained face was soon replaced with laughter, joy, and imagination.
We exclaimed how brave he was! My son even exclaimed how he was finally brave enough to try the water slide at his daycare.
I knew of the joy he would have once he just relaxed and trusted me.
In the same way:
I fill my own boat with excuses and justifications. I put off what I know I need to do for another day. A day when I might be:
- Or wiser.
While a gentle nudge may be all we need at times, I have a feeling that like myself, you too may need to be thrown onto the raft. My fear is often greater than my faith.
We call them excuses,
But isn’t that just another name for fear? The fear of following God’s call when he asks us to do something just a little bit scary. (or sometimes really scary)
God’s voice can sometimes come through a twinge in our hearts, a gentle nudge from a friend or the door of a perceived opportunity slammed shut.
Sometimes we have to jump out in faith.
“Make your faith larger than your fears and your dreams bigger than your doubts.”Robin Sharma
I don’t know what faith looks like for you. Maybe you don’t have a mom or friend willing to push you out of your comfort zone, or maybe, like me, you let your fear be greater than your faith.
But I do know you are not alone in your fears.
We all have our fears and excuses.
Satan will use any foothold he can to keep us from doing God’s work:
- Even our busy life filled with good things.
But fear is one of Satans greatest weapons.
But I have good news!
God is willing to walk with us through scary places. We can give all our worries (aka fear) to God.
Give all your worries and cares to God. Because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7 NLT
Stories of Faith:
The Bible gives us many stories of faith, from some very imperfect and fearful people, not unlike you and me. (Are you feeling better already?)
Consider the following:
- Peter walking on water (Matthew 14:28-30)
- Jonah fleeing from the Lord (Jonah 1)
- Mary was greatly troubled by her pregnancy (Luke 1: 26-56)
The stories above are as different as night and day, but what they have in common are fear and excuses.
Peter gets credit as having great faith.
And he did, but he also had fear.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”Matthew 14:30 (NIV)
Jonah was a coward.
And he was, at first, but even braver is the person who admits when they are wrong and takes extreme measures to correct those wrongs.
Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”Jonah 1:12 (NIV)
Mary was overwhelmed and confused.
Even though she was scared, she accepted God’s call. She let her faith be bigger than her fear.
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.Luke 1: 29-30
All these people were credited with great faith,
But fear came before their bold faith.
And while I wouldn’t do any better facing the same obstacles they overcame, I find myself encouraged by their mistakes and their willingness to keep trying despite the fear and all the hairy monsters under their beds.
They refused to let the fear be greater than their faith.
So as I challenge myself, I challenge you…
When you feel your heart burning, or you hear the whisper of God, or you get pushed out of a boat into a lake of uncertainty,
I challenge you to hear the call, accept the call, and to take the first step. That first baby step of faith into the great world God can offer.
Our God is right beside us. We are in the death grip of his loving arms, for he knows the joy we will have if we just relax and trust.
For our God can do more than we can ask or imagine…..
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,Ephesians 3:30 (NIV)