Fear. I’ve been dealing with fear for as long as I can remember. This probably comes as a surprise to some. Despite my “independent” demeanor, fear lurks everywhere I go. I’ve made some good strides in this area over the last year… especially where my food stronghold is concerned, but apparently another form of fear holds me back. Yesterday I came upon a video series by Beth Moore on the topic and I haven’t been able to think of much else since. To ensure that I didn’t just give God a nod of acknowledgement of the stronghold, He placed Joshua 1:9 as my “verse of the day” this morning… yes, one of the passages Beth read during her teaching.
As though this weren’t enough to make me go, “hmm, what are you trying to tell me, Lord”, He orchestrated today’s “read through the Bible” passage perfectly. Today I began reading the account of when Moses sent the 12 men to spy on Canaan. If you recall the Sunday school song, you’ll remember that “10 were bad and 2 were good”. Now, those 10 men weren’t “bad” per say, they just lacked faith that God could do what He said He could do. We of course know that God knew the choice they would make. I wondered why He would tell them to look before they marched in. I think it was because He knew it would take greater faith for them to go after they saw what they were up against. The lack of faith of those 10 men turned the Israelite people against God’s plan to take them into the Promised Land. This resulted in them wandering about in the wilderness for 40 years… Good gosh, 40 years is a really long time. Wow, and they thought they were sick of manna – give it another forty years. As much as they grumbled about the food available to them, you would think one look at those luscious grapes would have compelled them to believe Joshua and Caleb. Nope.
Unfortunately, fear took over. They let their fear and unbelief keep them from God’s blessings. As Beth pointed out in her talk, the Lord promised them the land where they set their foot. This meant that they would be required to literally step out in faith… but they refused to, and instead whined and complained… again. As I’ve noted before, we could be totally down on the Israelites and asking, “what on earth was their problem”? They saw a sea part and food fall from the sky for crying out loud! However, one look at my own life has me wondering how long I’ll be content to wander about in the wilderness because of my own fears. We can say that we would have marched right into Canaan and fought those giants and fortified cities, but how many of us will even stand up for the Lord in a conversation with a friend? Or in how we cast our votes… or in how we raise our children… or… No, we sit, quietly nodding along even though we know it isn’t right. Like the Israelites, we don’t fear God, we fear everything else. Beth challenges that we should be afraid of missing God, not of what man might do to us or say about us.
Yes, I’ve been afraid of a great many things over the years, but my fear of failure has held me back more than anything. I’m not just talking about holding me back from man’s version of success, although that might be the case too, I’m talking about holding me back from the Promised Land God set aside for me before I was even a sparkle in my mother’s eye. I firmly believe He has a specific plan for each believer that walks the face of this planet. I also believe that most of us dwell in the pit of fear (and other strongholds) until the day we die, never reaching that land or the blessings He planned for us. The stronghold of fear is a difficult one to break. It’s a trust issue, and boy oh boy do we have trust issues.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
And after clicking “publish” on my own entry, I read Lindsee’s heartfelt post. I thought I’d share it because it shows that we all have our own fears, and God is faithful nevertheless.