Moving from Fear To Faith

      FEAR, a powerful word.  A suffocating emotion that has robbed many of joy and opportunities.  One time when my wife and I took our five children blueberry picking I gave the kids a brief warning about the possibility of running into a bear.  In my effort to be a responsible Alaskan parent I said too much because when I finished our youngest Henry would not get out of the van because he was so afraid.  Fear can be paralyzing can’t it?  I wasn’t sure what to do.  But then I prayed with the kids and when I finished, our little Henry enthusiastically hopped out of the van, grabbed a stick and said “let’s go find a bear!”      
     Moving from the humorous to the serious.    Years ago I sat down at a table in Denny’s restaurant with a soldier who was about to be sent on a dangerous deployment.  He looked me straight in the eyes and asked “How do I know that there is not a bullet with my name on it waiting for me over there?  Now that’s a question.  We talked about his legitimate fears and about God’s calling on his life.  We prayed and that helped him.  He went and bravely served his country and I am happy to tell you that he came back alive and well from his deployment. 
      Both Henry and this soldier tapped into a principle that I learned from another military man.  I was once having lunch with the former Brigade Commander Kevin Lambert at Ft Wainwright.  I asked him how the military prepared its men and women to deal with fear.  These soldiers that serve have to be willing to literally run into a fire fight.  He said, “Push the fear down by building the trust up.”  Don’t blow past that statement.  It’s profound.  Through training the military builds: trust in the mission.  Trust in the leaders.  Trust in their fellow soldiers.  Trust in their equipment and weapons.  And since he is a Christian we talked about adding trust in God for those who are willing.       
      So how do we train to build up trust, specifically trust in God?
  •  Pray.  And write down God’s answers over time.  It’s truly is remarkable what is revealed when you actually keep track of how God responds to us.  I’ve found that as time passes even when He says “no” his love for me shows. 
  •  Study and memorize the promises of God.  One example to consider:  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” –Isaiah 41:10.  Let your mind marinate in the promises of God.
  • Remind yourself of the consequences of letting fear reign in your heart, of only trusting yourself.  One historical example is when the Jewish nation was poised to go into the promised land but they didn’t, because of fear.  That entire generation missed their opportunity.  What have you missed out on because of fear?  Maybe fear kept you from asking out that young woman who would have been an amazing wife or maybe you’re in a job you tolerate because you never started that business that you should have. 
Please don’t come to the end of your life haunted by the question “what might have been if I had just trusted God?”  I’ve never counted, but multiple sources indicate that the Bible contains about 366 times when we are told some variation of Fear not; that’s more than enough for every day of the year.   Claim one of those “fear nots” for yourself today.  I invite you to move from fear to faith!
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church