When I was about 7 years old, I remember standing on the edge of the town pool halfway to the deep end and looking down at my much-loved big brother who was urging me to try to do a cannonball jump. I fussed and fumed and made many false starts, but because my brother didn’t give up on me, I eventually did it! I was still scared out of my mind, but I did it. And that small “leap of faith” was the first in a long line of opportunities God gave me in my life to become braver and bolder as I matured as a Christ-follower. But that first time, God used my brother to teach me the value of doing it scared.
Perhaps this week you have been able to identify your worry as the useless feeling it is and recognize God is big enough to overcome all adversity. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean you instantly stop worrying. God wants us to take steps forward anyway. Don’t let fear or worry paralyze you and keep you from what God wants to do through you and for you. It is part of the faith journey. Remember what Paul wrote: “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
In the book of Numbers, there is a great example of how the Israelites got it wrong when they refused to obey God because of their fear. They paid a terrible price for their disobedience and lack of faith.
In Numbers 13, Moses and the Israelites were nearing the promised land of Canaan. God directs Moses, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel” (verse 2). Moses obediently sends 12 men to check it out and report back on whether the towns were open camps or fortified cities, whether the land was good for growing, and to ascertain how strong the people were who lived there. He then told them to report back to him with their findings.
They spent 40 days spying on the land and its people. When they arrived back at the Israelite camp, the 12 gave a report to Moses, Aaron, and all the people. They even brought back a big, fat cluster of grapes, as well as pomegranates and figs to demonstrate the wonderful bounty that was growing there. The bad news, however, according to 10 of the 12 spies was that, yes, the land was bountiful, but the cities were fortified, and the people were HUGE. Their conclusion was to “forget about it.”
They believed there was no way they could conquer Canaan. And they were right because that was never God’s plan, was it? For back in Numbers 13:2 God clearly stated HE was going to GIVE them that land.
So, they did exactly what we do; they got caught up in their own perceived limitations and fear of failing—or in their case fear of dying—while trying to conquer Canaan, and then refused to even try.
However, “6 Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing [when they heard this].7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” (Numbers 14:6-9)
Unfortunately, the Israelites chose to believe the other 10 spies, and they threatened to get rid of Moses and pick another leader so they could go back to Egypt. Talk about a bad plan! They had allowed their worries of “what if” to keep them from God’s promise, instead of being willing to “do it scared.” And they paid the price with another 40 years of wandering in the desert.
Do you believe that how circumstances turn out ultimately depends on you?
Have you ever allowed your fear to paralyze you?
Memorize this promise from God, and whenever you start to worry, recite it to yourself.
Isaiah 41:10 NIV
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
If you haven’t done so yet, check out GrowthTrack week 1 to learn more about who God is and what some of his promises are.
God, thank you for your promises and patience. Forgive me when I allow my worry to determine my action, or lack of it. Help me to choose your will over my own, even when I am scared or worried. I don’t need another 40 years in the wilderness; I’m ready for the promised land! In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Martha Preckler. Martha loves Jesus and growing closer to him every day. She loves serving on the Sparkle Team and Greeter Team, as a Landing Leader, GrowthTrack hostess, and fill-in writer for LIO. Martha is the grateful mother of two grown sons and one daughter-in-law. Both sons are good writers, but one is a published urban fantasy writer and self-proclaimed grammar dictator, which he swears he picked up from his mother. She has been a Toledo Business Journal contributor, speech writer, as well as creator of dozens of promotional pieces for seniors’ events and programming offer by the YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo.
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