Do not be afraid – this isn’t about you

I was listening to The Bible Recap the other morning, and Tara Leigh briefly talked about how God told Joshua “Do not be afraid…for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” (Joshua 1:9). I’ve read that verse a million times, but this time, it struck me differently. I realized that it is beautiful to know that we don’t have to be afraid, not because of who WE are, but of who God is. What an incredible and humbling thought.

I looked up how often the Bible speaks about not being afraid. Not surprisingly, it’s often. Over 110 times according to this website! My first thought was why? And then God brought to mind how we are so much like sheep, who easily get spooked. Granted, we fear because there are some seriously scary things out there in this world. It’s not that surprising when you think about it. We need to be reminded frequently that we don’t need to be afraid, either for irrational or rational fears, when we are obedient to God’s will in our lives.

Irrational Fears

I’ve talked about my own irrational fears in the past, and even though they may be irrational, they’re still incredibly hard to get over. And that’s when we KNOW we’re being a little crazy! The LORD allows us sometimes to struggle with this, though, just so we can have compassion on others who may also struggle with irrational fears, even when it manifests differently (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Which reminded me of one of our sons several years ago. I’ll never forget how he was having such a hard time going to sleep at night. He was so scared. I have no idea why he was scared, but he was just scared. I didn’t know what to do. At first it was sort of sweet, but after a while, I was just like, “GO TO BED!” But in God’s great mercy, He eventually reminded me of a great verse that I made our son memorize:

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will also help you,
I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 41:10

We wrote it down on a piece of paper and he placed it under his pillow. He finally went to sleep. How amazing is it that God’s Word is so powerful, that it can even sooth a little boy right to sleep, just by knowing His Word, and being reminded that He is there with him?

Rational Fears

As I mentioned earlier, many of our fears are unfounded. But many are actual, merited fears. As in, yes, it’s completely understandable to be afraid. For example, I can’t imagine looking at all of the unconquered land that the LORD promised His people, seeing the fortifications, the large people, those that were better equipped, and thinking to myself, “I’ve totally got this!” Because guess what? We totally don’t.

But God does.

But if God isn’t with you, then well…

However, as I thought more and more about fear, something else came to mind. Sometimes, we say to ourselves, “I have no reason to fear!” and then plow through some endeavor, only to have it explode in our faces. The people of Israel knew very well about situations like this. Right after the people refused to go into the promised land and the LORD rebuked them, some of them had a change of mind. They said to themselves, “Actually, let’s DO THIS!” (I’m paraphrasing). They exuded confidence. Except God wasn’t with them anymore. They already disobeyed. There wasn’t any “Oopsies” clause. The Israelites had their chance, and they were warned not to go. And you can guess what happened. They were readily defeated (Numbers 14:39-45).

Oh that we would listen to the voice of God. Sometimes it’s appropriate to act despite our fear. But clearly not always. How in the world are we supposed to know one way or the other? Well a pretty good indication to NOT act is when God has already given us a firm no or TO ACT when God has already given us a firm yes – NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. Sometimes that may seem hard to discern. But prayerfully seeking the LORD’s will and studying God’s WORD are essential steps in the process.

How’d THEY do it?

For some great examples of Bible Heroes who have acted courageously, despite their fears and according to the will of God, check out “Courageous and Bold Bible Heroes.” Two other books that are excellent for children (and ourselves!) to read about is “Courageous World Changers” and “Brave Heroes and Bold Defenders.”

It’s so helpful to have examples of those who have gone before us. Those who have faithfully acted with courage according to the will of God. Obviously, examples of those who have foolishly acted courageously are important to share with our children (such as the narrative in Numbers above). However, our children need to be inspired to know that despite the circumstances, when the LORD is leading us to do hard things, we are enabled to do them. Not because of who we are, but because of Who God is.


©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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