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Monday, June 9, 2014

From Fear, By Faith, Into Freedom

Janez Rus, a young shoemaker, sought refuge at his sister’s farmhouse in June, 1945, fearing the punishment from the pro-Nazi wartime regime. He hid there for 32 years. He used to cry when he heard happy voices outside, but dared not show himself even at his mother’s funeral.

“If I had not been discovered, I would have remained in hiding. So I am happy that this happened,” Rus told a reporter. Throughout those years he did nothing. He never left the house, and could only look down at the village in the valley.

Imagine being so paralysed by fear. Think of a time when you were gripped with fear. What did you think, feel or do? How did you recover or get past your fear? Or, has that fear, in some way, remained with you?

In his fear, King Jehoshaphat sought God – he sought God out of obedience because his faith said, “Only the Lord can help when things get dire.” He strode a well-worn road of obedience; he prayed and proclaimed a fast. Jehoshaphat, in this way, was one of Israel’s great kings.

His national prayer is recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:6-12. As it happened, Jahaziel prophesied victory for Judah (vv. 15-17).

And it came to be, the enemies, the countries of Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir – who were surrounding Judah – annihilated each other! (v. 23)

A key verse is this: “For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (v. 15)

When we take the focus off our fear we can do great things, not only in and for ourselves, but in and for God.

When we disable our fear by seeking God, we are essentially agreeing to obey not our own flimsy will, but whatever God suggests we do – which implicates courage. We do voluntarily what we ordinarily would not volunteer to do.

God never promised us a fear-free life; indeed, fear is part of life in order that we would have sufficient reason to offer courage an invitation to become part of us, one fearful moment at a time.

We go from fear, by faith, into freedom, because of the courage to step through our fear. Courage is a doing word.

Again, fear is a prerequisite of life. Sometimes we will feel so anxious by our simple plain existence in the mode of our realities that fear will seem altogether too natural.

When we are freaked out by life, the opportunity is ripe to enlist courage to step through the fear, by faith, and into the reality of conquering that fear, which introduces us to freedom.

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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