Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
There seems to be plenty to fear in this life, and many people tend to live with fears that plague them from time to time. Some of the common fears involve our family, our employment, and our reputation. It is possible to live our lives in constant fear. Scripture tells us on many occasions not to fear, but on another occasion we are told to fear the Lord.
There is a different kind of fear that will make you fearless. Many of God’s great saints have gone through times which shook them with such great fear that they felt paralyzed. It is in those times that we learn that Christ is everything. Facing dark nights when we feel that God has forsaken us has a way of breaking all that encumbers the heart and turns its focus to the only one who can help. These are the times when we look and see our sinful hearts in all their depravity. When we go through one of these times, there is nothing that we will not surrender to God because we know without Him we have nothing. It is in these times where our boldest prayers are offered. We are willing to say, Lord, take everything from me if I am not in your will, my reputation, my job, even my family if necessary. There is only one thing that will satisfy me, and that is to know I am right with you. Spurgeon gives a great example of this when he states, “If a man is in this position you can lay the wealth of India at his feet and he’ll say take it away, what use is that to me.”
When a person goes through a time like this and comes out on the other side, that person is changed, and many times the Lord left everything intact, the reputation, the job, and the family, but at the same time the Lord has taken it from him. The fears that once tormented are gone because this person has seen the greatest truth, that he is Christ’s and Christ is sovereign. This freedom emboldens the man do and say things that he once could not because of his fears. It gives him the ability to take a stand for Christ no matter what the cost. We see this in John Bunyan being able to spend years in prison without denying Christ, or Luther to stand before the powers of Rome and say, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” They had been through times where their sins tormented them, and during those times they saw the worthlessness of everything in comparison to Christ.
There is a great picture of this in the movie “The Four Feathers”. The main character is in a group of military friends who are told they will be going to battle. He is afraid so he resigns. From this, four of his closest friends each give him a feather signifying that he is a coward. Seeing the result of his decision he heads off to Saudi Arabia to find this group and redeem his cowardly act. The things he faces make going to war pale in comparison. In the midst of his ordeal a man says to him “why did you not go to war?” His reply is “I was afraid”. The man who asked the question began to laugh out loud and says “you afraid? I found you half dead in the middle of the desert by yourself.” To which his response is “it’s a different kind of fear”.
It’s a different kind of fear to fear the Lord. Not the kind of fear that will cause you to run away, but a fear that will cause you to run to Him and stand strong. In finding this fear all encumbrances of fear begin to break. Praise God for teaching our hearts to fear.
When I cling to earthly things
Within my heart, fear pulls the strings
Lord, all these things, take if you must
For in your Love, I’ll place my trust.