WHEN FEAR AND DOUBT TRIES TO CONSUME YOU
Imagine laying on a hospital bed, waiting to go into labor. After forty eight hours of anxiety and restlessness, The Doctor comes in and says “we are going to have to do an operation”. At that moment, the only thing you are very sure of and can rightly validate is your fear. You have a million questions, like, is this doctor competent? How many surgeries of this nature has he performed, is the baby going to be safe, am I going to be safe? The list goes on. In that moment prayer and reciting scripture (God’s promises) is a last resort. And when you do pray, it is mostly questioning God and requesting certain things, or rather demanding. Sometimes even ultimatums “God if you save me and this child I will dedicate my life to such and such”. The scriptures give us numerous reasons for trials, and principles on how we as Believers ought to respond when in fear and when in doubt.
Encouragement from those that preceded us
James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Obviously, there was a need for this letter; some saints were going through trials and this was to encourage them, I would encourage you read this letter, it is a treasure. More often than not we do not even remember such verses when trials hit us. Fear and doubt are the responses that come naturally. But as believers we are called to do those things that do not come natural to us. Take heart, for we are not the first to doubt God, in fact, saints in the scriptures had their episodes. Peter one of the most celebrated apostles in our faith, panicked and deserted the Messiah. Not only that, fear of sharing the same fate (crucifixion) led him to deny the Lord Jesus Christ three times. (John 18:25-27). The Israelites doubted God’s providence and promises, after witnessing what God had done for them (Exodus 16:3, Exodus 32:1). Abraham, Elijah, you name them; they all had moments of fear and doubt. All these people had a crisis of faith because of fear and doubt.
Learn from the Master
What do all the people we previously mentioned have in common? Repentance: Fear shifts our focus from the Lord and His plans and focuses on self; chiefly it is sin. Because At that moment our fear makes us think our solution or our worrying and fear can help us solve whatever problem we are going through. Besides all the examples, we have the ultimate example, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Consider His prayer before going to the cross. He was anguished, but that did not deter him from what He came to accomplish (Luke 22:42). Again, “fear distorts our focus”. If you are following what is happening in the political arena, you can tell from the chatter, that people are scared. Some are scared of hunger, some are scared of the economic meltdown and some are scared of death (riots). But our lives are not in the hands of the politicians. God moves the heart of the king (Proverbs 21:1-9) and in Luke 12:2-7 Christ gives a wonderful assurance of how much control God has over our lives. Let us hold fast to God and believe on, Regardless of what we are going through, He is not caught off guard.
Let me end this article by quoting one of our favorite documents in my home: the Heidelberg Catechism.
Question: What is your only comfort in life and death?
Answer: That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.