Fear Not

A good friend Nicole recently wrote a blog that I can’t quite shake. It’s one of those dangerous blogs full of ideas that can move the complacent into radical action. One of things she wrote:

We are called to the dangerous places. We are called to be the light in the darkness which means we have to go to the darkness, but we have nothing to fear!

I totally agree! What’s buzzing around in my head is the realization that the most dark and dangerous place is the fear of my own heart. It’s like FDR said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Nothing of faith can happen when fear is present.

I was in Tanzania on a missions trip a few months back. This was my fourth trip to Africa in two years. For a multitude of reasons, this trip was very difficult for me. But the most alarming thing I suffered from was my own fear. I was just afraid of so many things. Nothing related to health or safety – but a worse kind of fear. A fear that nothing I was doing was God’s will. That God was going to hang me out to dry. That God wasn’t going to move like He did the three times before. That the goals of our outreach were somehow opposed to God’s goals. It was rough. I had sleepless nights. Dark nights of the soul.

Looking back on this time I realize two things:

1.) God wanted me to trust Him, need Him and call upon Him like never before.

It turns out I was trying to pour old wine into new wineskins. What got me through the first three trips was not going to sustain me on this one. I needed to find the new needy. Even in East Africa, I somehow retreated to a settled place of comfort (another theme from Nicole’s blog).

2.) God wanted me to rest in Him and clearly hear Him.

I was in ministry mode. But I wasn’t really hearing His voice. I was too busy doing and not really hearing the Father’s voice. I needed to hear Him first, and then do His work.

So I’m excited to see people come alive and catch a buzz for Kingdom building – to see people waking up and looking to shed the trappings of comfort and lethargy. People are seeking God’s face and getting dangerous for Jesus. And we’re just getting started. And yes, we are called to shine a light in dark places. But the darkest place is the fear in our own heart. We need God’s grace and mercy to overcome our fears. The great news is that His perfect love casts out fear. The light of His face displaces any darkness – even the darkest fears of our own hearts!

For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. – 2 Cor 4:6