Fear is something that we all face whether or not we like to admit it. I find myself in this present season of life, full of fear. I am standing on the edge of several life transitions that are all very frightening. It’s at times like these I find that I have two choices to make. Which choice I make entirely depends on which of my natures, flesh or spirit, that I am walking in.
Starting a business is difficult to say the least, but starting a business that depends entirely on the kindness and charity of others is a daunting task that has gripped me with fear for the last three months. Up until this point, I have been able to hide my fears of starting a ministry due to the many external excuses of why the timing wasn’t right.
With all the excuses removed, I am now faced with the truth that the only barrier left between me and a vision God has placed on my heart since the day I gave Him my life, is myself. More specifically my fear.
I am certain some of you might be thinking, “what on God’s green Earth do you have to be afraid of?” Many things!
My life is filled with seasons of difficulty and strife that I know that God allowed for my growth and sanctification. In these times of great suffering and pain, I have witnessed God’s goodness that many have a hard time understanding.
Take Job for instance, God allowed Job to lose everything. His children died because God allowed it to happen. I am sure I speak for all the parents out there, losing all my children in a single day would be a blow that would cripple me. However, in the midst of this unimaginable tragedy, God is still good. This season of loss that I am in has taught me that. I believe it with everything that I am.
It will never make sense to me, but I cannot deny His goodness. Check out my post, Where Else Would I Go, for my journey through this concept.
What does all this have to do with fear? With all that I have experienced, I fear God’s goodness. Plain and simple, I am afraid that God’s purpose for me is to suffer, so that other’s may find hope in my struggle. Don’t hear what I am not saying. This is a noble thing to be apart of, but scary all the same.
What this equates to in my vision for the future, is a ministry that will always struggle to make ends meet. I will not have a hugely “successful” (I use that term relative to the standards of the American Dream) ministry that draws in large donors. I am afraid that I will always be behind and unable to achieve financial independence.
The typical response of the church is, “God will provide all that you need. Just trust in Him. Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all your needs will be taken care of.”
I believe this. I really do, but at the same time, I also know that God’s providence is connected to His will. Church history is filled with stories of great men and women of faith that had to suffer unimaginable pains for the sake of the kingdom. Stories where what we would consider to be needs that God promises to fulfill were not poured out. I have witnessed starving children of believers in Haiti. I have read stories about Richard Wurmbrand and other great missionaries who suffered poverty, prison, torture, and martyrdom. So God’s providence and protection looks a lot different from the Americanized Christianity we all tend to believe in.
What do I do? If I walk in the flesh, my choice is to give into my fear and seek security independent of God. As a result, I will more than likely be a successful designer/programmer and be able to provide all the comforts and luxuries this great country has to offer. I will be able to enjoy hobbies and vacations without care or concern.
If I walk in the Spirit, my choice is to trust God no matter what happens. To believe in His goodness and be content with His provision no matter how little or great (in my eyes) it might be. I will be choosing to accept driving a beat up car with a cracked windshield. At least I have a car! I will be accepting the possibility that I may never be able to afford my own home. I must resolve to be seen by the eyes of this world as a failure. That is my biggest fear of all, to be seen as a failure.
Here’s the truth… If I walk in the Spirit, I will be successful in the eyes of the only one that matters, God. I will be trading the comfortable and cozy American Christian life for an eternal glory that awaits me in Heaven. I must place my hope in God and the kingdom to come.
Giving up the American Dream for my life, will enable me to fulfill the words that God spoke to me the day I got saved, “James, if you surrender all that you are to Me, I will use all your pain and suffering for My glory.”
I am choosing to face my fear. Standing at the edge of a chasm that seems to have no bottom, I am choosing to step off in the hopes that God will carry me and use me to change the lives of millions of people.
I am certain that many of you are faced with the same choices. To walk in the flesh and find comfort and ease in this life or walk in the Spirit and suffer. It is not an easy choice. It wasn’t easy for Jesus either, but Jesus faced His own human aversion to pain and trusted in the will of God. What will you do?
I invite you to share your fears of following Jesus in the comments below. None of us is as strong as all of us. My hope is that together we can find strength, courage, and encouragement to run this race with endurance. To bear our sufferings with the power and peace that God promises.
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power” 2 Timothy 1:7
That’s the truth!