This article is a follow-up to When the Faithful Aren’t Fearless
Fear is something we all experience on a consistent basis. Many times we fail to realize our battle is with fear. Often, it comes disguised as fear-of-man, what if’s, and distrust. Many other times fear is very recognizable, such as with a terrible circumstance.
While God doesn’t give us fear, He does allow it and uses it to draw us closer to Him. We are told within scripture not to be afraid, but we need to understand that apart from Him this isn’t possible. We can tack a note on the door of our brain saying, “Fear, here is your eviction notice,” but still fear will find a way to seep in through the cracks and once again attack our calm. When we are fearful it is vital that we hold onto hope in conjunction with seeking the help of God.
We all have what is known as our biggest fear, either we’ve already experienced it or it looms in our thoughts intermingling with numerous smaller fears. If you’ve walked through one of your biggest fears you know that fear won’t let you off that easily. It’s not finished with you. No, it sticks around afterward and reminds you of what you’ve been through and that you could experience it again. We can choose to succumb to our fears or pursue hope.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Adam and Eve were the first of mankind to experience fear while they were walking naked through the garden after the fall (Genesis 3:8-11). Subsequently, we see fear show up uninvited to many circumstances throughout scripture. One example of fear that has always struck me is illustrated during the great Exodus (Exodus 12:33-14:31).
Exodus 14 details out for us a portion of God’s plan for the Israelites and the Egyptians, but this plan is unknown to those standing terrified on the shores of the Red Sea. Do their fears resonate with you?
And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14
The Lord Said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. Exodus 14:15-16
How many times have you been like the Israelites and feared the path set before you simply because God’s plan hasn’t been revealed to you yet? This is something that I believe we all struggle with, trusting the sovereignty of God’s unrevealed will. We often would rather sit in our current circumstance regardless of what they are because stepping outside of what we know in our everyday can be terrifying. If we do step out in faith and move forward on the path unknown to us, at some point fear will try to burrow into our thoughts and deter us from going any farther.
God knew the Israelites would be fearful to cross the parted Red Sea. However, God didn’t offer them a different route. Instead, God gave them hope and one clear direction to pursue. He knew some would succumb to fear and turn back, but He didn’t allow for this as He had a perfect plan for them. God forced them to walk through their fears because the path behind them was filled with certain death as the Egyptians were charging towards them. They had no other choice but to journey forward.
Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses. Exodus 14:30-31
The Israelites journeyed through the parted sea because of God’s sovereign will and through that they could only pursue hope. God gave them a hope so deep and so wide it overpowered their fear. This is not to say that they no longer battled fear during their journey, but instead, they chose to hope instead of fear.
God was with the Israelites just as He is with us. He didn’t leave them alone in their fear and He doesn’t abandon us either. Like the Israelites, God requires a great amount of trust from His children. God knew the deepest struggles of the Israelites and offered glimpses into His plan through instructions He gave to Moses. Although these glimpses didn’t satisfy the Israelites, God still did not abandon them.
How often are we like the Israelites, distrusting God’s plan for our lives, crying out to God for help, and scoffing at it when it arrives because it’s not what we had envisioned? Through our fears, we can choose to hold onto hope. God calls us to persevere through our fear, to keep taking steps forward, and to trust His promises of unwavering love and loyalty.