Have you ever eagerly anticipated a positive result? Perhaps a passing grade on a test, or a new job, or an exciting traveling opportunity? I would imagine you have. But I wonder, has lengthened anticipation ever caused you to doubt the initial hope for your desired outcome?
It does for me.
Like Abraham from the Old Testament, I believe in the power of God. I believe that He has a plan for my life, and I believe He will do great things through me, for His glory, even if I deem them impossible. But sometimes, like Abraham, the seeming “delay” of God’s promise can cause me to fret. Sometimes I question my vulnerability in trusting God, and begin to doubt His validity to keep His word the way He originally stated.
To trust is to be vulnerable. To trust God is to submit my rights on my life under His control, for His outcome and His glory.
However, to fear is to also be vulnerable. To fear is to trust myself to my control for my glory…and oh, how dangerous it is to place myself in the hands of inexperience and incompetence and impotence!
I came into this world with no experience, no skills, and no power. How brave of me to think I can run my life! How profound to think that I can create something from myself! How mature to think that I am the expert on expertise, or the wisest of wisdom, or…
But back to my sheer human brilliancy…
I was researching synonyms for “fear” and was appalled by one of the selections: Chickenheartedness. To me, it is a humorous and humorously gross word. When I am prone to fear, I become a doubter of God and a truster of myself. I also become afraid–very afraid. I become afraid that God isn’t as big as He says He is, and that He might fail me.
So what do I do? I go hide behind my own pitiful shadow. (Some comfort!)
But afraid of rejection, afraid of disappointment, I brace myself for a negative blow. I am determined to not have my hopes shattered, so if I expect God might fail me (or if I at least contemplate the idea) then I can be prepared. I is smart! I is prepared! And then I read Jeremiah 7:8, where the LORD tells the people of Judah not to trust in deceptive words that are worthless…
I is stupid.
Instead of embracing God’s truth and taking Him at His word, I brace myself for the disaster of fear–a disaster I bring upon myself.
If I trust God, I am required to believe that He will bring blessings and peace and promises of good things(Jer. 17:7-8, Is. 26:3-4, 2 Sam. 7:28). I am required to believe that the LORD does not forsake those who trust Him (Psalm 9:10).
When I trust God, I will have no fear of bad news (Psalm 112:7).
I have no need to brace myself for fear, for God has embraced me and will keep me safe in His arms (Deut. 33:27).
And when I trust God, I know that regardless of what I think the outcome should be, He has used every event for His glory and is working it out according to His intentions (Rom. 8:28), and He will continue to sustain me (Psalm 55:22).
I am called to be sanctified by God, not satisfied by this world.
And I will embrace Him.
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. it has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
– Jeremiah 17:7-8
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.”
– Isaiah 26:3-4
“O Sovereign LORD, You are God! Your words are trustworthy, and You have promised these good things to Your servant.”
– 2 Samuel 7:28
“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
– Psalm 9:10
“[The man who fears the LORD] will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.”
– Psalm 112:7-8
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, ‘Destroy him!'”
– Deuteronomy 33:27
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
– Romans 8:28
“Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”
– Psalm 55:22