From that moment in the garden, when shame and guilt set in after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree, fear came into the world. In a single moment, Adam and Eve realized their shame and were afraid to show themselves to God. Now one could argue that their fear was unfounded, as God, their loving Father, had not given them a reason to be afraid of Him before. But in that act of sin against Him, fear became a part of the world. It also became a significant theme throughout the Bible.
Moses, Esther, Gideon, Joshua, David- these are just some of the Bible’s heavy hitters, and in each of their stories, they had a tough choice to make. Do they allow fear to overwhelm them and freeze them in their tracks, or do they take a breath, trust God, and walk forward despite the fear? An elaborate support system surrounded each person; generals, guards, advisors, friends, family, religious leaders, and yet, despite the voices that must have been swirling around them and causing confusion, they chose to focus on God’s.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”– Joshua 1:9
After Moses passed away, the Lord appeared to Joshua and instructed him to cross the Jordan into the lands that God had prepared for them. During the Lord’s conversation with Joshua, He repeatedly told Joshua not to be afraid and to trust Him in every moment and trust the process. As we read through the book of Joshua, God asks Joshua to lead the Israelites through incredibly strange situations and tasks. I mean, marching around the walls of Jericho and blowing trumpets on the final day? That’s a tactical method that would cause people to question Joshua’s sanity rather than instil awe and confidence. But Joshua listened to God and walked forward as God asked him to.
Fear is hard to overcome. It can leave you frozen in your tracks, or lead you to panic and focus on all of the other voices around you telling you the opposite of what you know to be true. We have witnessed quite a bit in 2020 so far. A global pandemic that showed just how easily fear can cause people to respond in surprising ways. A challenging political climate that has caused people to wonder what the next few years will bring. Personal health challenges, depression, anxiety, social distancing (or isolation), economic downfalls, and more- it’s easy to get overwhelmed and become paralyzed by fear. It’s even easier to listen to the other voices telling us what we should believe, what we should think, and how we should react.
In the moments of fear and anxiety, though, we need to keep our focus on God as best as we can. Quiet time with God, listening to worship music before bed, choosing to read the Bible in the morning rather than get lost in social media- by keeping God at the focus, we can see through the fear a little more clearly.
And in those moments of fear when we don’t know if we can walk forward and complete the next step, remember that God uses these moments to show how good and faithful He is. It’s worth it every time because God will never be done showing us His character and the depths of His love.