Sunday, October 30, 2016

When

The other morning I was reading in Deuteronomy.  Verse 1 from Chapter 20 caught my attention:

"When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you."

I read verses like this and often laugh out loud (probably not the typical reaction!).  Here is Israel, a rebellious lot at best.  Yet they are God's own possession. They are dearly loved.  The Lord is giving instructions for war.  I hear something like this:

So Israel, when you go to battle, you are going to see the odds stacked high, like really high against you. You are going to face your enemies, people that want to destroy you, there are going to be so many that you will not be able to begin to count them.  Oh and by the way, they will have horses and chariots...you can't win. My advice, my command, don't be afraid.

As I was thinking through this scenario I was reminded of some other "when" verses in the Bible. When you pass through the waters and through the rivers...when you walk through the fire, Isaiah 43:2.  When you hear of war, Luke 21.  When you meet trials of various kinds, James 1:2.

This life is so unpredictable, yet we do know we will face hardships.  
It is not a question of IF we will, but a command for WHEN we do.

Our human reaction often is fear, worry, doubt.  Fear draws us away, we run, hide, retreat.  We are paralyzed, consumed by the situation.  So if we are not to fear, what do we do?  How do we obey this command when we face the "whens" in our lives?  When your finances fail, when there is a terminal diagnosis, when a heart breaks, when God is silent....when.

I wonder if we are to do the opposite? Fear makes us want to give up. Faith causes us to draw near, be vulnerable, be honest, run to Him.  I looked up antonyms for fear and this is what I found: assurance, calmness, cheer, confidence, contentment, encouragement, faith, happiness, joy, trust, love, courage.

How do you want to live? Paralyzed? Fearful? Stressed?  I want to live in complete assurance of who I am in Christ, with confidence that He will keep His promises (He will never leave us!), encouraged by the family of God, trusting in the One who allowed me to be in this situation.

How about you?  Are you in a circumstance that seems overwhelming?  No way to win? No way out?  I have tried both paths.  Run, fear, hide, avoid, distract...anything but face the giant.  And I have asked God for help and have chosen the path of faith and courage. My hope is that when I face my next battle I will obey His command and choose the path of faith, not fear.  It is so much better. There is freedom found in the faith-filled life.  And I choose to live free.