“If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
– Romans 14:8
We’ve been talking about how Jonah was called to do a really scary thing and how the Lord often uses what we are afraid of to teach us about His faithfulness and make us stronger people.
While I could probably tell you dozens of stories about how this has proven true in my own life, there’s one example from my childhood that especially stands out. When I was a kid, I used to go to a summer camp called Indian Village up at Forest Home in the mountains. There were lots of fun and challenging activities for young people to take part in there, and one in particular that intrigued me was a thing called the blob. For lack of a better description, the blob was a giant inflatable, pillow-like raft that acted as sort of catapult. While one person waited on one side of it, another would jump onto the opposite side and launch the first person into the water. Though it had my attention the first season I went, I just didn’t have the courage to give it a shot. I was afraid of what would happen if I belly flopped and hit the water too hard or went flying too high in the air. Having thought about it for a whole year, when I returned to camp the following season, I wanted even more badly to give it a try… but my fears kept haunting me. Finally, a guy named Big Mike (think Pacific Islander, 240+ lbs. and full of joy and love) came up beside me as I was intently staring at the blob and asked me if I wanted to go on it. He could tell that I did, and so he encouraged me to just do it. I decided to give it a go, and once I was at the top of the platform, I was terrified…that is until I saw the little kid I would be launching looking up at me in horror. At that point I became a superhero and jumped fearlessly; somehow his fear made mine disappear. After jumping, I scooted to the other end of the blob and waited to see who would be catapulting me. Before I had a chance to blink, I looked behind me and saw Big Mike jumping from the platform. He came crashing and I flew off the end of that blob, high into the air and onto the water in a full belly flop — boy did it hurt! Nevertheless, when I emerged from the lake, though my skin was stinging, I was elated and laughing because I had conquered my fear!
Friend, the best way to diminish the presence and power of anxiety in your life is to do the things that you’re afraid of. Maybe you’re reading this and you’re facing a big surgery or you’re dreading a difficult conversation you need to have in order to make amends with a friend or family member. Perhaps God has called you to start a business, but you don’t know how you will make ends meet in the meantime. Whatever it is, if the Lord is asking you to do it, stop putting it off. No matter how big the task or challenge, He is with you and He has equipped you with everything you need to get it done! From life to death, there is not a day that goes by in which He is not looking out for you. Isn’t that wonderful news?
Jesus, fill my heart with faith and courage to do just one scary thing you are asking me to do in the next week.
Which circumstances in your life have taught you the power of facing things afraid?