Sep252015
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Fear and Faith: God is With You

By Jenna Devotions Leave a comment

Step of Faith

First steps are always the hardest.  This post, this blog, this idea is a first little step for me.   I’m embarking on a journey to read through the Bible and chronicle what God teaches me along the way.  Because how wonderfully true it is that He speaks to us in His Word.  Every. Single. Day.  If we’ll listen.

So many people want God to speak to them.  I know I do!  I desperately need to hear and know and live by the leading of God’s voice.  But what trains our ears to tune into His voice?  The answer is almost too simple: the reading of His Word.  Let me say that again.  Reading.  His.  Word.  His WORD!  Funny thing about God’s Word… it’s chock full of His words!  Which means it’s full of His voice!  Speaking right to us!  And I don’t mean just some passive, ancient, tired voice.  But a living, active, heart-piercing voice that invades our thoughts, our emotions, our circumstances and speaks right into our daily situations. Let’s prove that true together.  Would you consider joining me? {You can sign up to follow this blog in the sidebar}.  Here’s what happened today when I opened His Word and listened for His voice.

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Today’s Reading: Ezra 2-3, Luke 8  (I will be following the Life Journal reading plan: You can find it explained very simply here and download a daily reading list here.)

New Foundations: Ezra 2 & 3

When the people of God (thousands of them) were released from captivity to go back to the Holy Land to rebuild what had been destroyed, the first thing they started working on was the foundation to God’s Temple.  Yep.  Pretty amazing.  God miraculously opened a door for them to do something super awesome.  His people responded by stepping through that open door and taking that first shaky step.  They immediately started in on God’s House. But a funny thing happened when they were finished building the foundation to the temple.  They were overcome.

Hhmmm… Let’s put ourselves into the moment.  Such a beautiful thing had been begun. The temple foundation was in place!   It was hard work.  Team work.  God’s work.  Then they went and got themselves cleaned up. As the generations gathered back together to celebrate, each person taking their proper place, together they lifted their voices and proclaimed “God is good!  His love endures forever!”  (Ezra 3:10-11)  And suddenly they were overcome; overwhelmed!

“And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.  But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.   No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise.  And the sound was heard far away.”  (Ezra 3:11-13)

When God leads us into a new thing there can be a deep mixture of emotions.  We weep for what was and rejoice for what is coming. Grief and Joy can tumble around together. At this moment recorded in Ezra, the hub-bub was so crazy-loud that people could hear it for miles away.  Listen.  Can you hear it too?  It sounds like raw emotion: Pain and Sorrow mingled with Joy and Hope.  And those listening couldn’t tell the difference between the weeping and the cheering.  And sometimes neither can we.

When God leads us to walk by faith, we will find our emotions might be all over the map.  Some of my biggest God-moments have been filled with an intense mingling of both fear and faith.  When God does something special in our lives, even something precious and holy, it can come with both joy and sorrow.  We are human.  We are fragile.  But we are also strong.

Those contradicting emotions collide together to propel us forward. And probably either we let the momentum cause us to stumble or to step up. As I start this blogging journey I am a little horrified at myself for doing such a thing but I’m also enjoying a bit of boldness stirring up inside me.  I believe that what God showed me today in this Old Testament reading is that it is both appropriate and healthy to experience a mixture of emotions when living and walking by faith.  God may not completely remove our sorrow, our grief, our fear, but He does nurture and foster our joy, our boldness and our faith.  Both will be there.  Neither are wrong. The difference is in what we do next.

A friend of mine just accepted a new ministry position in a different city.  I know her family is excited but there is still a bit of sorrow at what they are leaving behind, even as they delight in the joy over where God is taking them.  It will be with both fear and faith, joy and sorrow, that they step into this new journey.  Yesterday morning a young lady in our Kid’s Ministry had an experience with God.  She was told she couldn’t take her wallet to school but as she tried to sneak it into her backpack anyway she stopped.  She says, “God told me to ‘Make good choices’, so I put it back.” A God who speaks is with us.  Our part is to listen and respond.

Because we are human, we are both fragile and strong.  The storms, the fears, the temptations, and the tasks can be too big for us. I know I feel that way frequently.  Daily we will wrestle with a mixture of feelings, thoughts, and considerations.  What makes the difference in how we live is that we respond to God’s voice rather than react to our feelings.  Think about it: reactions are bad.  If a doctor gives you a medication, you want it to heal you not harm you.  You’d like to hear the doctor to say “you are responding to the medication.”  You really don’t want to hear the doctor say, “You are having a reaction to the medication.”  Because then something would be wrong.  When whirlwinds of emotions are stirred up in our lives, When we feel especially fragile and small, we can listen for and respond to God’s voice.  He is there.  Even when we are sure He fell asleep on us, we don’t have to react to our feelings and concerns.  Both fear and faith will probably always be there.  We don’t have to be surprised by that.

In Luke 8:22-25 Jesus fell asleep on the boat.  A giant storm came up… a squall!  The boat was being swamped and the disciples were in great danger.  They woke Jesus up and told him they were going to drown.  (verse 24)  Do you ever feel like you are drowning?  Maybe drowning in fear, confusion, to-do lists, pain, despair or sorrow?  I personally don’t think Jesus expected them (or us) to look at the wind and waves trying to consume them and to not have any fear.  So what does He expect when storm or emotions rage?  The answer is in His question.  Jesus asked them, “Where is your faith?” (v. 25a).  Friends, I really think we are allowed to be afraid.  We are human.  Sometimes life can be big and painful and hard. But what I hear God saying here is this:

Don’t lead with fear; lead with faith.

Who is your God?  The disciples standing there in a calm sea where once there had been insanity, wondered that very question.  They asked, “Who is he?  He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.” (v. 25b).  He is the God Who is With You!  Sometimes He calms the storm around us, and sometimes He calms the storm inside us.

God is with you. God is speaking.  Are you like me and want to know what He is saying? Let’s open His Word together and get more and more familiar with His voice.  Sign up to join me by following this baby-new blog. We can wade into His Word together.  But we certainly won’t be going in alone.

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