Everyone is afraid of something. Is worried about something. Is overwhelmed by something.
A few weeks ago I was sleeping in my bed. I felt something CRAWL up my sleeve. Understand 2 things.
1) Understand that there are a thousand places in my house that a bug could crawl. It didn’t just land on me and I could flick it off.
2) Understand I have a chubby arm. There’s not a lot of room between my sleeve and my arm. AND IT WENT UP MY SLEEVE!!!
I immediately grabbed it (under my sleeve) and heard the crunch. Gross! Gross! Gross! I let out a scream and woke up Jose! I’m still holding it under my sleeve trying to figure out how I can get my shirt off without dropping the bug back on myself or seeing it!
I grew up in Haiti and yet this was the first time I have ever had a giant cockroach climb under my sleeve while I was sleeping. It has traumatized me!! LOL!
SO – the next night I had a plan. I refused to let this happen again!
1) I made Jose go all around the bedroom and spray for bugs.
2) I wore an extra shirt under my PJ top.
3) I got some duct tape and taped my sleeve to my arm! Yes – I’m totally serious!
4) Even though it was hot – I found a sheet and tucked it all around me so nothing could get through.
Listen – God called me to minister to the Haitians – not to the bugs!! This fear cost me nearly a week of sleep. Even though I’ve slept thousands of nights in Haiti without a problem – I couldn’t get past it. This fear in my mind was causing stress in my body. I was exhausted.
I have been reflecting for the last few weeks from the Catalyst Conference. One of the speakers that spoke right to my heart was Mark Driscoll. I never realized how much fear I had in my life – how much I let fear CONTROL my life.
So what are you afraid of? Maybe it’s not so much about something you can see – but something you can’t see. Jose and I go through seasons where we have enough support for our family and then seasons where we don’t know how we’re going to make it through the end of the month.
There are fears that we can’t live up to what the Mole needs from us. There are fears that something could happen to our children. In the last 4 weeks Asher has fallen 3 times and needed stitches every single time. What if he needed something more? What would we do? The nearest hospital is an hour away and we don’t have a vehicle yet.
Luke 12: Which of you by being anxious will add anything to your life?
So what are you afraid of? WHO are you afraid of? Does someone other than God hold that place? Is there someone you need - to bless you – to rule you – to be a source of life to you? Fear includes being afraid of someone but also extends to giving him or her too much influence as well. Is your appetite for other people – their praise – too high? Are you consumed with what everyone else thinks of you? Are you overly devastated by criticism?
Whose opinion matters the most – way TOO much? Has that person taken the role of God? Have they become our functional God?
Are you committed to things that God didn’t call you to? Sometimes instead of asking God what HE wants for our life – we ask someone else what they think. We’re not actually answering His call but man’s call! Have you asked God what HE wants from you?
Fear = Not getting what you want or losing it. Are you holding so tightly onto something that God wants you to let go of?
Fear = Vision without hope. You envision the worst-case scenario. With all of Asher’s falls – I imagine the day that he needs emergency surgery and we can’t find a truck. What if I can’t find help? What if he dies along the way? What if? What if? What if? Our minds are great at imagining the worst thing that could happen.
Fear = False Prophecy. We predict a false future and end up fear-ridden over it. AND it never happens. Ever been nervous about a meeting with someone? Maybe your boss? You lose sleep the entire week thinking of it. You just know you’re getting fired. You just know you’ll lose your house. You just know you’ll never find work again. You finally meet and he tells you what a great job you’re doing!!! That false future never happened and you can’t get that time you lost worrying back.
Fear = It’s not rational – but powerful. You have your own fears that others don’t feel. I had a conversation with some interpreters the other day about voodoo. They were telling me about a bus that comes out of the mountain and you disappear forever. At night people don’t like to hang around unpopulated areas because that’s where the bus drives through. It doesn’t seem like a rational fear but I promise you – it’s powerful! I’ve seen the power and hold it has on the Haitians.
Fear = It preaches a false gospel. There is an alternative Heaven here on earth. We find someone and worship them (boss, wife, friend, pastor, parent) and they become a false savior. We think they will save us from the hell (that we created in our own imagination). Who has become your functional savior? Whoever you run to instead of Christ may be acting as your functional savior here on this earth.
So what does the Bible Say? – FEAR NOT!! It’s the most frequently mentioned command in the whole Bible. If God says anything a lot – it must be important.
Fear is not just a command – it’s usually an invitation. Fear Not – I am with you. It’s not just about facing your fear but God is telling you that He’s there present with you.
Throughout the Bible – Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Mary, King David, Daniel, Jeremiah, Haggai – - FEAR NOT! I AM WITH YOU!
Why does God say it so much? Because when fear comes we forget that God is with us. We feel alone – and that is a lie. The lie is you’re alone with only your own resources.
Moses asks – How can I lead these people? I don’t know where we’re going and they are following. God doesn’t say – “Here’s a map” but rather “Here I am”.
Perhaps right now you are walking through the valley. You feel powerless. The criticisms are real. You feel like you can’t do this. You’re not going to make it through today – much less next week. God says – FEAR NOT – I AM WITH YOU. God doesn’t say there won’t be moments of fear. He already knows that’s going to happen. But He’s trying to remind you that you’re not alone!
Mark Driscoll shared this story with us as he closed:
His family was going on a vacation to Scotland. He was talking to his 3-year-old about the trip. He told his son that he would ride on a plane. But the kid didn’t want to go. He explained that he would see castles and swords. But the kid didn’t want to go. He told him that there would be unlimited juice – every time you push the button on the plane they will bring him juice! But the kid still didn’t want to go. He told him how much fun he would have – but the little kid didn’t want to go.
Finally – Mark gets on his knees – at eye level – and asks his son why doesn’t he want to go to Scotland. The child’s response: I’ve never flown by myself.
The little 3-year-old thought that he was going ALONE! Mark asked, “What if I come with you”? The little boy responded – “YES! Will you hold my hand in the airport too”?
Fear not – for your daddy is with you. He’ll even hold your hand throughout the entire journey.
ALWAYS REMEMBER WHEN IT’S DARKEST – Everything may not be okay….but if God is with you – You are going to be okay.
Take Control of your Fear by picking up the Bible and drawing on its strength:
Genesis 15:1 [ The LORD’s Covenant With Abram ] After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. ”
Genesis 21:17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.
Genesis 26:24 That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
Genesis 46:3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there.
Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.
Numbers 14:9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
Deuteronomy 3:22 Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.”
Deuteronomy 20:1 [ Going to War ] When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.
Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
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.”
1 Chronicles 28:20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.
2 Chronicles 20:17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”
Psalm 118:6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 41:14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
Jeremiah 1:8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 46:28 Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant, for I am with you,” declares the LORD. “Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you.
Daniel 10:12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.
Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Luke 12:4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Revelation 1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.