Franklin D Roosevelt stated in his 1933 inaugural address, “…Let me assert my firm belief, that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
When I reflect on fear in regards to myself and my Savior, I tend to recall President Roosevelt’s words.
What do I have to fear BUT fear itself?
If we are honest with ourselves, fear plays a huge role in most of our lives.
We tend to live in such a way that our fears can never touch us. We avoid the dark, public speaking, and confrontation like a plague.
Why? Because of fear.
Fear of being hurt, rejected or embarrassed.
We avoid the feeling of fear at any cost. We don’t want to fight the fear, so we choose to remove it.
Instead of facing the dark, we leave the light on. Instead of facing rejection, we avoid relationships. Instead of confronting sin, we give concessions.
Fear can shape how you look at everything and everyone.
Will I fail? Will I mess it all up? What happens if people hate me or make fun of me? What if I lose everything and have to start again?
Fear can keep you backed into a corner, singling you out like a bully who isolates the weakest link.
Fear is not to be trifled with.
It is one of the Devil’s best weapons.
Just look at a few examples from God’s Word.
Moses feared to return to Egypt and speak for the Lord because he had a speech impediment. (Exodus 3-4)
The ten spies out of the twelve that Moses sent to explore Canaan were so fearful and scared of what they saw that they convinced all of the people to rebel against what God told them to do. This one act of fear caused them all to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, never being able to enter the promised land. (Numbers 13-14)
Gideon’s life was full of fearful moments. When God found him for the very first time, he was hiding in a wine press, so his enemies would not kill him. (Judges 6-8)
Elijah feared Jezebel and her threats on his life even though God had just used him immensely on Mount Carmel to show His power. (I Kings 18-19)
Peter feared the water he was walking on because of the wind and he began to sink. (Matthew 14)
Now, I can not blame ANY of these examples given for being fearful. If I had been in their shoes, I would have been shaking just as they were.
But why do we fear?
I believe I fear because I don’t fully rely on God. I rely mostly on myself, and because of this, there is REASON to fear.
What do I have that can cause a Pharaoh to release all his slaves or can allow me to walk on water?
Only God can do those sort of miracles. Only His power is able to make up the difference, change the outcome, or you know, defy gravity.
In the face of fear all I need is my Lord. He is the peace in the storm.
The devil, however, makes us feel alone and unable to claim God’s power. He uses another tool in his arsenal.
The devil causes you to feel uncertain, unsure, hesitant, suspicious, confused, insecure, and uneasy. The human response to these emotions is to protect, back away, or run. We are programmed to protect ourselves at any cost. You see it over and over again in God’s Word.
The ten spies knew they didn’t measure up to the giants they saw in the promised land. How could they defeat such huge people when they looked at themselves?
That is the problem though. We are looking at ourselves.
Moses was looking at his speech impediment, not the God who made His mouth. Gideon was looking at his inability to fight the enemy, not the God who found him hiding and called him to more. Elijah was looking at his weakness and human frailty, not the God who had just shown Himself immensely powerful on Mount Carmel.
What would it look like if we were to throw caution to the wind and trust God with it all?
With our mouths, our abilities, our weakness, and even our lives.
Lately, I have been thinking of Peter and his walking on water experience.
What if Jesus himself called you out of the boat to walk on the water? To do something so simple as putting one foot in front of the other. He is not asking you to fight a huge number of people alone or some crazy hard task like defeating a giant with a slingshot and trust.
Just step out of the boat and walk to Him.
Put yourself in Peter’s shoes.
You know the dangers of drowning. You were a fisherman before Jesus called you to be a fisher of men. You know the vastness of the sea you are getting ready to walk on and the probability of getting swept away. You can feel the wind starting to pick up.
Staring into the face of the knowledge that would keep you from getting out of the boat is the face of your Savior saying, “Come.”
Would you go?
I have been contemplating this thought for a while now.
Would I go?
My gut reaction is, “uh, no…”
“No, I’m not getting out of this boat and the safety it promises. No, I’m not going to think I can walk on the water just because Jesus is. I mean, come on. He is Jesus, so of course HE can walk on the water. No, I am JUST FINE sitting here in the boat watching Peter take that risk. MAYBE if He can walk on the water, I’ll go next.
In the still small voice that God uses to speak to me, He whispers, “but what if you are the Peter others need to see? Get out of the boat and trust me…”
He fillets open my heart and exposes everything I fear.
“…But what if everyone is watching me and I begin to sink, Lord? What does that say then? What will they think of me?”
Still small voice of God: “I will reach for you. I won’t let you sink beyond my reach.”
My fear yells: “YEAH, THEN EVERYONE WILL KNOW I DOUBTED. I FALTERED.”
God whispers back, “Everyone will know you tried and that you have a Savior who will always be there for you.”
“Oh, Lord. You know me so well. You know my greatest fears and failures. You know what the devil uses to keep me in the boat, quiet, hiding, turning away and retreating. You call my name, lock eyes with me, reach out Your hand and speak one word, “Come.”
With that, I am faced with the hardest choice.
Will I stay safe and contained in the boat with all the comforts it can offer? Or will I come forward HAVING to place all my trust in You while the fears scream around me like giant waves of the sea?
“Oh Lord, give me the strength to walk where human feet fail, but where Your power is made strong. Help me reach You, trusting that no matter what is going on around me, YOU are my God, and You have me in your sights and your hands.”
What do I have to fear but fear itself? He conquered it all when He defeated death.
Y’all, He conquered death. What is left to fear?
He is the light. He is the center of every relationship. He is salvation from sin. I don’t have to remove the fear from my life because it is fear itself that reminds my heart of my need for a Savior.
He is a Savior Who is infinite, omnipotent, and omnipresent. He is reaching out HIS hand to you and me.
He can take you from putting one foot in front of the other on a windy sea to fighting giants and circumstances that seem insurmountable.
All you have to do is put fear aside, look Him in the eye, and KNOW He has you in His hands. There is NOTHING to fear when God has your back.
Psalm 27:1 – The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?