A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with my grandma about traveling around the world to experience amazing cultures, natural wonders, cities and people. She told me she had never been on a plane and would never get on one either! I asked, “Why grandma?” Her response was, “I am afraid to fly on planes.” I thought about what she said and it saddened me greatly. I imagined all the wonderful destinations she would miss out on, the new friends she would never meet and memories she would not experience. Her understanding of the world would be limited based on what she read in a book or saw on TV and the sheer thrill of a new adventure would be but a daydream.
Just like what happened with my grandma, fear can actually have a paralyzing effect on us, too, if we let it take over our minds. It can keep us from experiencing all the good things God wants to do for us and through us. Do you remember when the twelve disciples were out on the water in a boat and they were paddling feverishly against the waves (Matthew 14:22-32)? Jesus came walking over to them at some point during the night and Peter, recognizing it was Jesus, asked if he could walk out to Him. The eleven other disciples stayed in the boat afraid! Just think, Peter went down in history as the only disciple to walk on water. He did not let his fear keep him from experiencing the good things God wanted to do for him. The Bible tells us that he was afraid, but as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus he stayed on top of the water. In other words, his courage to step out in faith overshadowed the fear in his heart and he was able to do the impossible.
How many of us let fear guide our decisions? Are you not stepping out into a new job or career because you are afraid? Has God asked you to confront a situation, trusting that He will make a way? Or has fear kept you pinned down in defeat? The moment Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and turned them onto his surrounding circumstances, Peter began to sink.
God loves it when we take steps of obedience to His leading. Jesus told Peter to come to Him on the water. So Peter took steps of faith. Eventually Peter sank, but I can hear the Lord saying, “Well done Peter! You trusted me and look what you accomplished.” Even though Peter eventually slipped into the water, God was pleased with his child like faith and God rescued him!
I also had to learn to trust God despite fear. I was at a crossroads in my life and for almost two years, I had been looking for steady income but nothing seemed to work out. I lost my job as a landscape architect due to a huge industry collapse. Almost all the firms were laying off people or folding and virtually no one was hiring. Needless to say, I lost my job, my income and pretty much everything I owned. Eventually, I moved back home with my Dad and step-mom and started over. I asked God what direction He wanted me to take and He placed on my heart to start writing about the experiences He had brought me through over the past 12 years.
I can remember writing my first blog – and how personal it was. I sensed God’s leading to publish it to the web, but fear gripped me and my mind started racing with all kinds of thoughts: What if people do not like my blog or how will people view me if they knew these intimate details of my life? On and on, these thoughts continued.
Despite the fearful thoughts, I knew that God was asking me to step out and trust Him and I did. Little by little, I received feedback from readers that my posts really helped them. Within two months, Nicole the Editor-in-Chief of The Good News emailed me and said that she really liked my blog writings and wanted me to write for her! Now I am reaching so many people with the truths from God’s Word to help set people free, including this article. And, it happened because I took a step of faith! And now, I am going to Jordan to tour and experience so much culture halfway around the world representing The Good News.
What God is doing for me, He will do for you. The key is to trust God by faith and not let fear rule you! Courage is not the absence of fear, but the strength to move forward despite it!
Cory can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.