Plead Until the Peace Comes

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Psalm 94:19

Some days, the uncertainty of life is daunting. And sometimes, the certainty of life is just as bad – inevitable break-ups, illnesses, conflict and stress. We may see what’s coming and the anticipation is more than we can bear.

Anxiety is a tough emotion to crack. Once those stomach butterflies take flight, it’s difficult to settle them down. No hand towel sufficiently dries our palms. Our lungs simply can’t get enough air in. Do you know the feeling? I do. And I think Jesus did as well.

In Mark 14, we find Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, a place He often retreated to for prayer. This time, He brought Peter, James, and John with Him. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He says to them. (v. 34) The original Greek word used to describe the state of His soul is perilupos, which means greatly grieved, being sorrowful “all-around,” i.e. engulfed in sorrow.

Think of the numerous words we use to define sorrow – sad, unhappy, brokenhearted, mournful, grief-stricken, remorse, poignance, bereavement, anguish. Jesus Himself, being fully God and fully man, experienced an overwhelming sense of these emotions. I imagine Him resisting the urge to vomit, His stomach turning in knots, head spinning, palms sweaty. Negative emotions take a physical toll on our bodies and it did the same for Jesus. He needed reprieve.

So He went to His Father. Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from Him. “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for You. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” (v. 35-36)

Jesus pleaded with God for a different plan. We do the same thing, don’t we? When anxiety is deep within us, we want it to go away. We want God to change the circumstances causing our heartache. Yet, as David mentions in Psalm 94, it’s not the work God does that brings joy, but rather the consolation He extends. God didn’t take the cup from Jesus because the very thing Jesus wanted to avoid was what fulfilled God’s plan – salvation for all. Perhaps the very thing we want God to change is what He will use to fulfill His plan in us as well.

But it’s ok to plead with God until the peace comes, because it will. He will comfort us in our time of need. (2 Corinthians 1:3) He will hear us when we cry out to Him. (Psalm 18:6, 116:1) He will give us the strength to courageously face our greatest fears. After Jesus met with God, He was at peace with the plan. God had provided the comfort He needed to boldly walk to His death, with humility and compassion.

So the next time you’re anxious or overwhelmed by sorrow, plead with God through, praise and prayer, until the peace comes.

Freedom from Mom Guilt

Those who look to him are radiant; 
their faces are never covered with shame.
Psalm 34:5

The first hour of the morning is often the worst part of the day in my house. The hustle and bustle of getting three boys dressed, fed, and lunches packed while they are constantly distracted to do anything but leaves me anxious and frazzled. I can’t tell you how many times I’m heading to work wishing I could have a do-over.

Since do-overs are not possible and the morning logistics are not changing anytime soon, I began to wonder what can be done? No matter how well I plan my time in the mornings, doing as much as I can before the children awake, things happen. Namely, emotions happen. They’re tired or whiny. They don’t want to get dressed or eat as quickly as I want them to. I feel my patience thinning as I make second and third requests for shoes to be put on.

When I don’t tend to my emotional state, the irritation grows to anger and I end up speaking louder and with more condescension in my voice. And that’s what I feel guilty about. That’s what leaves me wanting a do-over. It’s not that we are late or that bellies are empty or arms are bare on a chilly morning. The actual stuff that needs to happen, happens. It’s the way in which it happens that I want to change. I want to handle myself differently.

As I look to free myself from this mom guilt, I’m reminded of Psalm 34. This passage was written by David after he had done something extremely shameful. While running from King Saul, who was trying to kill him, David pretended to be insane in order to avoid being identified. In fear, he allowed saliva to fall to his beard, a sacred part of his body. This helped him escape, but I’m sure he felt the sting of guilt afterward. He had dishonored the Lord and himself. I imagine he would’ve liked a do-over.

But what strikes me most is the way David deals with his shame. He knows exactly where to go for comfort – the Lord. He begins the chapter with praise, having already accepted the forgiveness God so freely offers. David understood that God was not an irritated, condescending Father who would shake His head or turn away when David repented. David understood the character of God to be loving and forgiving like that of a parent who welcomes a child in after making a bad choice and sits them down over warm chocolate chip cookies and ice-cold milk to discuss. Verse 4 says, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me;  He delivered me from all my fears.” God didn’t make David feel worse about what he had done – the magnitude of his choices did not elude him. Instead, the Lord’s radiance extended to David’s face, cleansing him from the guilt and shame.

On my most difficult mornings, I have the opportunity to do the same with Jesus. When I pause to look at Him rather than the chaos around me, I find peace. I can be free from mom guilt because He always extends an arm around my shoulders, comforting me and calming my fears of failure. He doesn’t reprimand me or say, “You better get it right next time, or else!” He’s more like a warm hug of encouragement saying, “You can do this. Just keep your eyes on me.”

I’m never going to be the perfect mom. Thankfully, I don’t have to be. God’s grace covers what’s been done so I can embrace what’s to come. Freedom from mom guilt provides a fresh slate to move forward upon. And who knows, maybe I will get it right the next time.

To Walk Where Jesus Walked

If I had to describe my recent trip to Israel in one word, it would be overwhelming. While there, every part of my being was overcome with stimuli – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. From the time we arrived until we departed I struggled to get my bearings on what I was experiencing.

Previous journeys I’ve taken out of the US have been to South America, to which travel time was short with minimal change in time zones. I had no idea how physically taxing a trip around the world is. Sitting on an airplane for 16 hours prompted neck, back, and leg soreness which I tried, in vain, to alleviate by frequent trips to the restroom.

I left my airplane seat for good once we arrived in Tel Aviv at 9 am. Our hotel rooms would not be ready until the afternoon, so we made good use of the day in Joppa (also called Jaffa). We walked and walked, ate some lunch, then walked some more. By early afternoon, I could no longer keep my eyes open. Thankfully, it was time to check into the hotel and I took a nap. Little did I know then that I would fight to keep my eyes open nearly every day of the trip.

We covered hundreds of miles by bus and on foot while in country. My shoes collected mud from Mount Arbel. I wiped sprinkles of rain from my face in Capernaum. Fierce wind atop Mount Carmel blew my hair into a frenzy. My legs felt the gentle sway of the Sea of Galilee. My eyes witnessed place where Jesus was crucified and the empty tomb where His body had been laid. My heart skipped a beat upon entering the Garden of Gethsemane. From climbing the southern steps to tunnel navigation through the City of David, our bodies were physically challenged every day.

Our tour guide made sure I was mentally challenged each day as well. Her understanding of the history of Israel and the Jewish people and how they both have Biblical relevance was astounding. I willed my mind to recall what limited Old Testament knowledge I have, but was frequently lost in the details. As if drinking from a fire hydrant, my mind was overloaded with information at every stop. Methodically trying to download as much as my brain could handle, I vowed to read my Guide to the Holy Land book later that evening. Yeah, that never happened.

Perhaps the most overwhelming part of the trip was the emotional roller coaster we road. Each day invoked a variety of feelings ranging from anticipatory happiness to sobering reverence. I imagined the excitement of those who saw Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey via the Palm Sunday Road. Sadness settled in my spirit as I sat under an Olive Tree, remembering the time Jesus begged for an alternative to the cross. Peace washed over me as I envisioned Jesus on a hill, teaching the people of God’s care for the birds of the air, the flowers of the field, and for them. Love swelled my heart as I began to understand the Lord’s sovereignty for His people.

Last, but not least, was the way my spirit was overtaken during my time in Israel. On more than one occasion, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up as chills covered my body in response to the Holy Spirit. His presence gradually pealed back layers of callus built up on my heart from years of trying to pretend I have it all together. Day by day, my heart softened to the truth of His love. On the southern steps of the Temple, I came face to face with a clear picture of the way God sees me – a priceless, beloved daughter worth dying for. I was undone by the weight my sin and the price He paid for me to have eternal life. It was then that I realized how nothing I do, nothing I say, and nothing I accomplish or fail to accomplish influences my position as His child. His love overshadows all offenses made against me and compels me to forgive others as He has forgiven me.

Jesus didn’t just walk the streets of Israel two thousand years ago, He walks them still today. His footprints have left an indelible mark on that land and because of that, I will never be the same.

When You’re Just Not Feeling It

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me;
yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Luke 22:42

She gazed into her hot coffee, cupping the mug with her hands.

“I’m just not feelin’ it”, she said.

I could sense my friend’s discouragement. Years of struggling in marriage and motherhood left her disenchanted and lacking in the faith department. Once regular church-goers, she and her husband had decided to “take a break”.

“I don’t feel anything if I go to church. I don’t feel anything if I don’t go to church. I don’t feel any different in my daily life, so I don’t really see the point.”

My heart ached at her confession. I wanted to shake her shoulders and tell her to get it together; to somehow convince her that she was wrong – that having Christ in her life did make a difference. It made all the difference.

She knew why she should go to church; she had grown up in a Christian family and had walked closely with the Lord as a young adult. Somewhere along the way of marriage infidelity, multiple miscarriages, and a family member’s suicide, her head had disconnected itself from her heart. She could no longer justify doing something she felt no emotional connection to.

Because God has wired us to have an emotional relationship with Him, it is understandable how this separation occurred. I have certainly had times in my life where I knew I needed to do something I wasn’t feeling an emotional desire to do.

After leaving the coffee shop that morning, I wanted to pray for my friend. Feeling there was no way I would be able to convince her with my words, perhaps the Lord could. She needed to know how much God loved her even in the darkest of times in life. She need to know that choosing obedience is always worth it – even when we’re not feeling it.

The Lord reminded me of an example of someone who wasn’t feeling it, either. Luke 22 portrays the account of Jesus going to the Mount of Olives to pray as He did many times during His earthly stay. He had his disciples with him and He knew the end was near. This was the night He was to be betrayed, arrested, and ultimately crucified.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” v42

Can you imagine His angst about being sacrificed for the sins of all mankind? I’m guessing He wasn’t really feeling like being flogged, His flesh ripping off His bones. He probably wasn’t feeling like having nails hammered into His hands and feet. Or dying in the most torturous manner – crucifixion. Sure, He and God had agreed it was necessary to save the people, but really? Like this? Could there be any other way, He pleaded.

An angel from heaven appeared and strengthened Him. He remained in anguish and prayed more earnestly. So much so that His pores sweated blood. I don’t know about you, but I have never been stressed to the point of sweating blood. Jesus was. He knew the suffering He was about to endure. He was not looking forward to it. He triple-checked with God to be absolutely sure there was no other way.

“Yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Emotion was overtaken by devotion. He chose obedience. By allowing the soldiers to arrest Him and nail Him to the cross without a fight, He honored the commitment He made to His Father. And after hours of physical suffering and emotional ridicule, he lacked the strength to inhale another breath. He gave up His Spirit to death. Christ didn’t need to feel like being obedient in order to do so. And neither do we.

Emotions come and go like the waves of the ocean; the value of salvation will never change. May thankfulness overwhelm our hearts into obedience when we go through times when we’re just not feeling it.

Lord, thank you for the amazing sacrifice Jesus made for us. May we never take for granted the strength and discipline it took for Him to give H
is life as we allow gratitude to motivate obedience.
Amen

What Are You Afraid Of?

For I am the Lord Your God who takes hold
of your right hand and says to you,
Do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13

My alarm went off. Ready or not, the day was here. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t think it would get here this fast. Nor that I would feel the way I did – anxious, overwhelmed, and ill-prepared for what this day would be like. Would they do okay? Would they feel scared, timid, worried about fitting in?

I wasn’t ready for this flood of emotion. I didn’t want to get out of bed, but knew I had to. I was sending my firstborn twins to their first day of kindergarten and felt blindsided by the unexpected response my heart took as I dressed and walked to the kitchen to make coffee.

The house was still dark as I began sifting through my feelings. I realized they were all rooted in fear – fear of the unknown. Feeling uneasy about not knowing what to expect is one of my biggest struggles. The uneasiness turns into physiologic anxiety – my heart beats fast, my chest feels tight, my hands a bit shaky. At times, it’s difficult for me to trust the Lord when I am unfamiliar with my circumstances. I simply prefer to be prepared appropriately and I can’t prepare without knowing in advance what will be happening. Have you ever felt that way?

I sat quietly sipping my coffee. The stillness of the morning brought peace to my flustered heart as I was reminded of Isaiah 41:13 – For I am the Lord Your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

I had been allowing my circumstances to dictate my emotions; when I stopped to absorb the truth of God’s Word, my soul began to believe it. Even when my circumstances, emotions, and life change, God is with me, helping me.

God is not surprised by my desire to know what’s around the next corner on the path of life. In fact, He expects it and yet commands: Do Not Fear.

It’s not a suggestion. He doesn’t say, “I know life is scary sometimes, but try your best to not be afraid”. That’s like me telling my child, “When you cross the street, try your best to not get hit by a car”. That’s nonsense – I take my child by the hand, stay with him, and walk him safely across the street. He doesn’t fear being hit because I am with him – he trusts me.

God wants me to trust Him the same way because the truth is, He is holding my hand, staying with me, and walking me across the street of life. I don’t have anything to fear – not the unknown, not what the day will bring, not feeling ill-prepared for whatever life brings.

Fearlessness is found by fastening our faith to Jesus.

We all have fears. Perhaps you can relate to mine; maybe you fear rejection, feeling like a failure, letting others down, being fully known, being vulnerable, being loved. Think about it – what are you afraid of? What holds you back from allowing the Lord to take your hand and help you?

As I sent my boys off to school that day, I grabbed ahold of the Lord’s hand and gave it a squeeze, thankful for His presence. After all, it’s ok to have emotional responses to the events of life – I have nothing to be afraid of!

Dear Heavenly Father,
When my hands are clinched around my need for control, help me to open them to You, accepting Your help to release my fears. May Your promises seep deeply into my soul, saturating my heart with peace and comfort amidst the changing life circumstances threatening my security. Teach me to hear the voice of Your Holy Spirit over my doubts each and every day.
Amen

Choosing the One Thing Needed

But few things are needed – or indeed only one.
Luke 10:42

Have you ever felt called to do something for God – something you were super excited about doing, but the details of daily life seemed to hold you back? I felt this way when the Lord first called me to write. I would sit down, ready to transmit His message onto my computer screen. Then I would see the pile of laundry needing to be folded. Or the crumbs under the kitchen table. Or the leftover food permanently gluing itself to the dishes in the sink. The details distract me.

Martha, too, was distracted by the details. She invited Jesus to her home, the home she shared with her sister, Mary. Martha wanted His visit to be perfect, for the food to be prepared just right, the house tidy, the decor warm and inviting.

While Martha scurried around the house making preparations, Mary sat at the feet us Jesus. She listened intently, absorbing His every word. He captivated her attention, freeing her from the distractions of Martha’s frantic efforts.

As Martha’s frustration comes to a boil, she says something to Jesus –

She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

I can relate to Martha’s perspective. I imagine her thinking, If Mary would just help with the preparations, we could both sit with Jesus. Likewise, I think, If I can just get the house clean, then my mind will be clear to hear what God wants me to write. However, I think we all know what that is like – cleaning the house turns into just a few dishes, a small load of laundry. The details are never ending.

Thankfully, Jesus has something else in mind:

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Jesus recognizes Martha’s longing to please Him, but the taste of the food and the ambiance of the home matters much less to Him than her heart. Mary understands the importance of Jesus’ brief presence and He will not take that from her.

Choosing the one thing requires setting aside everything else.

Just as Jesus wanted Mary and Martha’s undivided attention, the Lord desires the same of us. He wants to meet our needs, bring us peace, and bless our lives. When we are distracted by the busyness of life, we miss the opportunity to hear from Him, even when we are in the business of serving the Lord. Before we start our day, we must spend time with Him.

If you can relate to Martha’s distraction with the details, consider the one thing we need to tend to most – our hearts. Everything else – laundry, the dishes, the bathrooms – are of less importance and can wait. Give the Lord a period of undivided attention today and see what happens!

Lord, thank You for Your presence in my life. You are never too distracted by the details to spend time with me. Teach me to reciprocate by setting aside everything else to sit at Your feet each day. Help me to choose the one thing needed above all else – You.
Amen

Where Does Your Compass Point?

via Daily Prompt: Compass

One of my favorite movie series is Pirates of the Caribbean. Throughout the movies, Jack Sparrow consults his compass for direction. With the needle in constant motion, it’s difficult to believe it is conventionally useful. Instead, the compass mythically directs him to what he desires most. Because his desires change on multiple occasions, the courses he and the other characters take often include detours, deviations, and back-tracking.

Jack Sparrow’s compass does not consistently point due north; it as reliable as a newborn baby’s sleep schedule. Our lives can be similarly chaotic when we don’t have a trustworthy guide.

Not too long ago, I experienced physical and emotional fatigue, overwhelmed by responsibilities at work and home. My children and I were sick, which lead to schedule changes, interrupted sleep patterns, weariness, and eventually exhaustion. So rather than waking early to read the Bible and pray, I slept. I struggled to get out of bed, believing I would get more benefit studying the back of my eyelids than God’s Word.

Unfortunately, a few days turned into a few weeks and the routine became harder to get back into. I wondered, why am I feeling so crummy? Then it hit me –  I was neglecting my Compass. I failed to realize how my early morning meeting with Jesus set the course of my day. During that time, I received His grace for yesterday’s mistakes, encouragement to try again, and strength to pursue His purpose.

While sleep is good and necessary, it does not replace the restorative nature of communion with the Lord. Isaiah 42:16 says, 

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
    along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
    and make the rough places smooth.

When the Lord is the compass we consistently consult, He gives vision when we are blind to the next step; He is our tour guide when the course is unfamiliar; He provides light when the road darkens; He makes our path smooth when the ground is unsteady.

The Message provides a great reminder in Psalm 20:24 – The very steps we take come from God; otherwise how would we know where we’re going?” Erratic mystification is certainly entertaining to watch in Pirates, but not a way to navigate real life. Our journey through life requires a guide. The Lord has given us the choice to pilot independently, or let Him set our course.  Which do you choose?

Lord, thank You for loving me enough to provide wisdom and guidance every step of the way. Teach me to consult You and wait patient for your response before making a move. For when we do, the plans You have for us are exponentially greater than anything we could dream of.
Amen

Hopeful Forgetfulness

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:18-19

 

The New Year is upon us and resolutions are the talk of social media, friends and family, and the work-place. Diet and exercise alterations are mentioned most commonly. We are hopeful this will be the year of (fill in the blank)… change… finding a spouse… graduation… career advancement… the birth of children… Each new year brings promises of hope.

Isaiah 43:19 is a verse frequently quoted as a reminder of the hope we have in what the Lord is doing – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. We may not always understand what He is doing. It may be within our hearts. It may be within our family. Our occupation. It may be something we believe is impossible. But just as a seed develops and grows roots before it is visible above the soil, the Lord is working even when we cannot see it.

I find great comfort and hope in knowing the Lord is always doing something on my behalf. Recently, I read the three verses preceding verse 19 and was struck by the personal relevance:

This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (V 16-18)

In Isaiah 43, the Israelites are reminded of what the Lord has done – He made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, drew out the chariots and horses, never to rise again. The Lord performed miracle after unexpected miracle to free His people from captivity in Egypt. He wants them to remember what has been done, but not to doubt the Lord’s ability to surpass previous miracles performed. He doesn’t want them to dwell on the past as if those were the “good ole days”; that God could not bring victory to them as He had in the past; that their circumstances were now far more dire than before.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. I personally find this very difficult to do. History has a way of repeating itself and the phrase, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” embodies the idea that we must learn from past mistakes and successes in order to progress. But for me, it held me back.

For many years, I perceived shame and condemnation when I opened up about my past regrets and mistakes. It was a horrible feeling, one I wanted to avoid at all costs. So, I learned to hide the parts of my life I thought were less than “Christian” and put on a facade of perfection to the best of my ability.

As you can probably imagine, that didn’t work out very well nor last very long. The Lord taught me the importance of being honest and transparent for the sake of my testimony, rather than receiving the approval of man. Hiding my sin and erroneous choices limited my ability to empathize and witness to others in similar circumstances. Forgetting the former things and not dwelling on the past was exactly what I needed to do in order to progress. Because He is doing something new and I want to perceive it to the best of my ability. Clearing my memory of what has already transpired allows me to become increasingly mindful of what He is doing in the present.

We can also be encouraged that history will not always repeat itself. Although the Lord delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians by a miraculous and unforeseen exodus, He delivered the Israelites again from the Babylonians by destroying Babylon, paving the way for His people. He may not do what we expect from past experiences, but we can be assured that His promises are always true. What He says will happen, will happen – in His time and in His way.

I’m excited for what 2018 will bring in my life and the life of others. Do you perceive a growth of new beginnings too?

 

 

Hiding is Not An Option

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
Psalm 139:8

My cell phone screen lit up, alerting me to a new message. It was a friend asking to meet for lunch. Although I enjoy spending time with her, I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay home. By myself.

What’s the problem?, you might ask.

There’s no problem if I simply needed to rest, accomplish other tasks, or run errands. There’s no problem if I had previous obligations, financial restraints, or transportation issues. There’s no problem if I didn’t want to go for any other reason than the reason I didn’t want to go – avoidance.

Going to lunch meant I would have to talk about how things were going, which meant admitting they were not going as well as I would like, which meant I couldn’t pretend everything was fine anymore. Going to lunch meant crawling out of my hiding place.

I thought of my son who loves to play hide-and-seek. Loves, loves, loves. He would play it every single day if we let him. However, our home is small and there are only four or five good hiding places – total. Therefore, it doesn’t take long for my son to find me because he knows where to look.

The same is true for the Lord. He knows where to look; there is no hiding from Him.

David describes his experience beautifully in Psalm 139:

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. (v 7-8) 

If I say, “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day for darkness is as light to you. (v 11-12)

These verses reminded me of Lord’s presence in my life. He brought light into the darkness of my life and I had lost sight of that. I wandered from the path of freedom, heading into the shadows of fear. Hiding had become an outward expression of an inward digression.

Have you ever felt like hiding would quiet the voices of fear and insecurity? Perhaps they would go away if left alone long enough? Just as my son eagerly searches for me during hide and seek, the Lord searches for us. He knows where we hide and lovingly awaits our willingness to be found. Because to Him, hiding is not an option.

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for pursuing us, even when we want to hide. Your radiant light is brighter than any darkness we could experience in life; thank you for loving us enough to play hide-and-seek and knowing exactly where to find us.

Amen

 

Fearless Faith

But when you ask, you must believe and do not doubt
James 1:5

My church performs an altar call at the end of every service, providing the opportunity for those who may not believe in God to make a personal commitment. It is amazing to see so many lives transformed on a weekly basis. However, I will say it is a little awkward when no one comes forward.

It was one of those services and after a minute of applause for no one coming forward, the pastor began to wrap up his message. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed two teenage girls finally muster the courage to leave their seats and make their way forward. The congregation applauded and tears filled my eyes. I was overwhelmed by their bravery and thought, “I wish I had courage like that”.

At that time in my life, my thought life was often overrun with fear. I longed to be courageous, to have fearless faith, but I couldn’t get past the voice of fear convincing me I wasn’t qualified to do what God was calling me to do.

Can you relate? Is God calling you to step out in faith, but fear is holding you back?

The Bible gives many examples of women with fearless faith, but Rahab is one of my favorites. We find her story of courage in Joshua 2. It was time for the Israelites to move in to the Promised Land. But in the way stood the city of Jericho, with massive, impenetrable walls surrounding it.

God directed Joshua to send spies into the city. When they came to Rahab’s home, she took them to her roof and told them to hide. She knew who they were and what they were doing in Jericho. Word had spread quickly of the Israelites’ plans to overtake the city and fear laced its way through the residents. They had heard of the parting of the Red Sea and the Israelites’ victory over the Amorites. Rahab told the spies, “our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above an on the earth below”.

Rahab anticipated the knock of the king’s soldiers at her door. She knew they would come looking for the spies and prepared her response accordingly:

“Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” Joshua 2:4-5

What courage it took to step out in faith and put her life on the line to help these men! Rahab let go of the fear and latched on to faith – a faith which led her leave a life of prostitution. A faith which saved her and her family from being destroyed by the Israelites. A fearless faith that left a permanent impression on the history of the Lord’s people.

James 1:5 is an excellent reminder of fearless faith: But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt.

Doubt is rooted in fear and we cannot be fearful and faithful at the same time. To be used by God, we must let go of fear and latch on to faith.

What is God calling you to do today? If fear is holding you back from taking the first step of faith, ask the Lord to help you take the leap of faith as Rahab did. .

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Rahab’s example of fearless courage. Teach me to trust in You more than my circumstances, knowing You have a plan to prosper me. Give me confidence in the wisdom You give, casting out any lingering doubt. I long to be used by You.
Amen