And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”
I’ve been wondering lately if fear isn’t what’s playing the biggest role in keeping people from believing in the grace of God. Something about the way fear grips us and makes us doubt whether or not we will be able to survive a situation got me thinking. For as much as I believe that God has my back and I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what, He will get me through whatever comes my way, I am still sometimes quite shaken and unnerved by things that happen in my life. Even something as simple as a creature making its way into my home unexpectedly can throw me off balance for a good half day. Why is this true when I know that God would never leave me or forsake me? And if I feel this way as a believer, how shaken must people who don’t believe feel when life throws curves their way? If I had no one to turn to, how would I ever hope to make it in this world? And how would that translate in terms of the way I treat others?
These are the things I think about when I find bats hanging in my basement stairwell or snakes in the basement crawling toward my laundry pile. After panicking, then taking action, I find myself thinking about how the average person would deal with these things. And then I start wondering if the average person truly believes that God can deliver them from harm should it present itself in their life. Sometimes the attitudes of the people around me suggest that they probably don’t think that they will ever have to answer to anyone for the way they behave. But if you dig deeper and find out what is really at the heart of their issues, many times you will find that they are scared to death of being hurt. Sometimes it’s an emotional hurt they fear, sometimes it’s physical danger. Either way, this preoccupation with what terrible things may happen keeps them from having joy and peace in their heart. This, in turn, keeps them from believing that someone is watching out for them and this results in unbelief which again feeds fear as it comes into our lives.
So how do you get people to understand that even in times where we as human beings are certain that He isn’t there for us, He is very present and aware of what we are going through? How can you help someone understand that sometimes God needs us to go through the things we go through so that we can come to a place where we will trust Him and rely on Him? We can no more convince another human being that God is there for them than we can convince a teenager that parents always know best. There are just some things that people must figure out on their own. It never hurts to share our own experiences with others or to testify as to how God has shown Himself faithful in our lives, but we can’t let it shake our faith if the person to whom we are witnessing just doesn’t get it.
Perhaps one of my biggest fears is that I will have wasted my time here on earth and that I will never have had an impact on anyone who doesn’t believe in the grace of God. As someone who wants to create disciples and help lead others to Christ, it scares me to think that my efforts might be in vain. But then I remember that any time I choose to share God’s word with someone I know and care about, I am giving them a piece of the armor they need to fight off the fear that always comes for us. I can’t fight the battle for them, but if I’ve given them at least some tools to use as they find their way then I’ve done my part. It’s not my job to stay behind and make sure they use those tools correctly and it isn’t up to me to make sure they don’t throw them away. God doesn’t expect me to carry the burdens of the rest of the world on my shoulders, He expects me to give those burdens to Him. He has much broader shoulders and He ain’t afraid of nothing. Before I waste my time and energy being afraid of any crazy thing this world throws my way, I will remember that all of those things should fear Him and He’s on my side.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.