I Am Afraid

Admitting a feeling is a risky business. Especially when you’ve lived your life with a “don’t ever let them see you sweat” mentality. Today I am going to risk appearing weak, faithless, and vulnerable by admitting I am afraid. I have a situation looming in front of me. It could go one of two ways. When I look at it, I have to admit… I am afraid. It’s ironic to me that David in the Psalms also had something he was afraid of and yet he didn’t try to ignore it. He didn’t try to play out the super spiritual person and not speak of it for fear of confessing bad things. He laid it out squarely before God. He told God what he was afraid of and presented every aspect of his fear to God. Then he told God in spite of what he felt, the fear, he was going to trust God. It’s little wonder to me that the Bible refers to David as a “man after God’s own heart.” God doesn’t expect us to try to hide how we feel. It’s much better to just step on out into the light and admit it’s there and let Him do what only He can do. For me to try to put on the brave face and suck it up is like the equivalent of Adam and Eve in the garden trying to sew some leaves together to hide their nakedness. God already knew what they looked like inside and out. There’s no hiding ourselves from Him.

Yes… I am afraid. But I also know that there is a God who is bigger than my fear. I’m pretty sure that He delights in showing me just how big He is. Opening the door and letting Him see my fear gives Him the opportunity to let His love fill the room in my heart where the fear has been. That love fills, floods, and flushes out the fear that is trying to infect the core of me. “Perfect love casts out all fear.” It’s that small movement of trust that opens the door to let Him in. I feel afraid, here it is. This is what I feel. You see it and I will say that it is there, but I chose to trust You in the face of that fear.

“But in the day that I’m afraid, I lay all my fears before you and trust in you with all my heart.” Psalm 56:3 TPT

I’m Not Enough

I am acutely aware of my insufficiency. Sometimes it shouts at me like a blaring horn.

This morning I sat down with my cup of coffee and put my Bible in my lap. As my mind went to a situation I am up against I whispered out to God, “I can’t do this.” Then I proceded to really look at my Bible for a second and the cover of it spoke back to me.

I could almost hear God saying “Oh yes you can. “.

When I first became aware of Philippians 4:13, I was in High School. For some reason it just seemed like it referred to doing some impossible physical feat in my mind. Like running a race, bench pressing a new weight record, or scoring the winning goal in a game. I didn’t really think of the context of the verse until later in life. Right before Paul wrote those famous words of being able to do all things through Christ, who gives him strength, he was talking about contentment in all circumstances. He talks about being in need and having plenty. He talks about being fed or hungry. He could handle it all “through Christ who gives me strength.” He was not talking about some extra, frivolous achievement that would be gratifying to accomplish. He was talking about contentment in the daily struggle of life, Peace in the ups and downs, walking through hard times with the knowledge that God really doesn’t leave us alone.

There’s a song by Elevation Worship that I contemplate frequently. It’s called “Here Again”. The lyrics that always speak to me are

“I‘m not enough unless You come
Will You meet me here again
‘Cause all I want is all You are
Will You meet me here again?”

Sometimes when I look at the giants ahead of me in my path, I identify myself as “Not Enough”. The giants are bigger than me. The giants are stronger. The giants are intimidating. I am not enough. But the truth is my insufficiencies, my imperfections, my lack are exactly where God meets me. I may be afraid of what is to come, but I can be assured that I am never left alone in it. God always meets me there. In fact if I really opened my eyes I would see He really wasn’t meeting me there. He hadn’t ever left. He was always there, when I felt Him in the times of peace and joy, and when I couldn’t feel Him in the times of trial.

As the song says,

Not for a minute
Was I forsaken
The Lord is in this place

It’s ok to take my Identity of “Not enough” to Him. Because He is the God who makes all things new. My “Not Enough” becomes “More than Enough” when I see that God is with me no matter how the path I’m on seems. He doesn’t look at it and say, “This place is too hard for me to walk with you.” Not for one minute does He forsake me. He’s always in this place, whatever it may be.

Be Strong and Courageous

Written 3 years ago as my Facebook Post, I needed this today:

Youthful zeal is a good thing. As a high school and college student, I had confidence in a God who answered my prayers and I knew that through Him I could conquer giants. Time and circumstances can wear away at your confidence, if given the opportunity, or time and circumstances can build your faith to see the faithfulness of God in all things.

I am struck this morning by the life of Joshua. He lived a long life and saw the miraculous. If I’ve got this all calculated out right, he crossed the Red Sea and saw the armies of Pharaoh drown in the water. He spied out the Promised Land at the age of around 40. He wasn’t intimidated at the size of the giants in the land or their fortified cities. Instead He boldly said, “The Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14:9)

Due to the Israelite’s rebellion, he wandered with them for 40 years depending on the Lord’s provisions of Quail and Manna. He saw the constant complaining of the people. He was there when the people worshiped the golden calf. He experienced all the hardships of wandering and watched as one by one the people who rebelled died. Once again at the age of around 80 he was given the chance to go in and conquer giants.

This is what sticks out to me the most in the story of his life. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God comes to Joshua and tells him, “You are going to lead this people into the land I have promised. I am going to go with you. You are going to conquer the land.” But more than anything, He tells Joshua more than once, “Be strong and courageous.” He encourages him to not be afraid. Could it be that there was a reason for that? Joshua knew what was ahead. He knew there were fortified cities. He knew there were giants. He saw them. Could it be that the 40 years of wandering and watching may have worked a little on his resolve? He knew he had a big God capable of miraculous intervention, but he also knew the hardship of walking out God’s plan for him in 40 years of wandering with God’s people. Maybe Joshua needed to hear God say, “Don’t be afraid.”

I’ve always pictured Joshua as some muscle bound, warrior. Chomping at the bit to go out and conquer it all. It’s quite a bit different to picture him as an 80 year old man, who has seen a lot in his lifetime and may be a little weary from the journey. It may be possible that Joshua needed to hear, “Be strong and courageous.” Straight from the lips of God. So he would know that God really wasn’t done with him yet. He had plans for him and promises yet to be fulfilled.

Giants in the land can be quite the intimidating thing. Fortified cities can stand before you as a mountainous obstacle. Wandering around for 40 years can wear on your resolve.

Sometimes I can look at what I perceive I must face in front of me and I may feel like the 80 year old Joshua inside of me. I know I have a faithful God. I have seen Him do great miracles. Yet I stand at the beginning of yet another adventure and wonder, “Do I have the stuff to conquer the giants facing me?” Here is where I can find great comfort in looking at the life of Joshua. Forty years later, at the age of 120, as he knew he was getting close to dying he says these words, “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” Joshua 23:14.

He fought many hard battles as they conquered the Promised Land. But he also knew the secret to his success. “The Lord God fights for you. Just as He promised. ” Joshua 23:10

My giants I face may stand looming as great opponents of significant size, but my God who fights for me is bigger than whatever battle I face. Not one promise of my God will fail me. They will all be fulfilled, and I stand as a victor against my enemies that rise up and try to cause me to walk in fear and doubt.

Now is not the time at the age of 45 to curl up and say that life is too hard. Now is the time to go on in and let the Lord fight for me as He leads me to the place He has given me. His place of Victory in Jesus.