“Despite our fear”Categories: Christian Principles
Sometimes fear shows up uninvited. Perhaps that happens because it sometimes takes our hearts awhile to catch up to what our mind knows. Yes, we know God is in control. We know He is greater than the world. So why does fear show up in the presence of a lethal virus? When we hear about the world turning a little more against Christ and His followers what do we do with this uninvited sense of dread? I suggest we do the same thing the Israelites once did: act on faith despite the fear.
When the people of Israel returned from exile they set up their lives among many neighbors who did not love the Lord. Like in some places of the world today it was not safe to worship God. They knew it was important to rebuild the temple but they also knew that could get heavy objects thrown at them. So what did they do? “Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening sacrifices” (Ezra 3:3). Were they afraid? Yes. Did they let their fear stop them from publicly proclaiming God’s praise? No. They decided their faith was more important than their fear.
We find out later that they were afraid for good reason. Their idolatrous neighbors were both sneaky and mean. They did everything they could to prevent Israel from worshiping God. They sent spies, they wrote slanderous letters . . . the works. Our fear might also have a reasonable cause. Worshiping God just might get you persecuted. Getting thrown out of your house, losing relationships with family members, or getting demoted at your job are all outcomes that are not out of the question. Praying at your restaurant table might lead to your atheist waiter to spit in your food. Sure. But what is more important to you: your faith or your fear? Let us be strong and courageous! If we do become afraid I pray our fear does not cripple us.
Despite our fear of the peoples around us may we overcome and worship God.