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Your year to overcome fear

Voices of Religion

Posted: Friday, January 12, 2007

Fear is a monster that stalks us all, bringing depression, stifling abilities, draining energy, diminishing courage and robbing life of adventure and success.

Some fears are real and others are imaginary.

Most of us have been troubled by some supposed impending tragedy that never arrived. In those cases, we’ve been relieved to have escaped unharmed. But have we?

Who can measure the impact on our minds and bodies during fear’s trembling times?

Joshua, of wall falling fame, must have battled fear after being appointed as the leader of his people following the death of Moses. Contemplating the responsibilities of his new position evidently made him feel weak and afraid, so three times during his commissioning for this new position he was told to be strong and courageous.

We can identify with weakness and fear. Trembling times come to all, but we should remember that God has often tipped the scales in favor of the weak, making them examples of unexpected success.

Winston Churchill seemed so dull as a youth that his father thought he would be incapable of making a living. G. K. Chesterton, the English writer, couldn’t read until he was 8 years old. Thomas Edison’s first teacher described him as “addled,” but this persistent inventor became convinced that God has a solution for every problem and set out to find some of them, brightening the lives of millions.

George Frederick Handel seemed to have good reasons to fear. He had lost his health, his right side was paralyzed, his money was gone and his creditors threatened to imprison him. Handel was so discouraged by his problems that he almost despaired, but his faith prevailed. In his weakest hour he composed his greatest work, “The Hallelujah Chorus,” which is part of his heralded, “Messiah.”

The list is long of those who have overcome fear and other obstacles to meaningful accomplishments. Fanny Crosby was blind but composed more than 8,000 published hymns.

Helen Keller, shortly before her 60th birthday, expressed pity for the real unseeing, for those who have eyes yet often do not see, saying, “If the blind put their hand in God’s they find their way more surely than those who see but have not faith or purpose.”

Joshua needed to understand that faith would allow him to draw strength from his Lord who is never weary or faint. He had been told to be strong but this would be an impossible command to obey unless God imparted his strength to him. In response to our faith, he offers to do the same for us.

Life teaches us our limits. There are problems too complicated for us to solve, burdens too heavy for us to bear, tasks too difficult for us to do, but God is able to do all things and he can pour his strength into us.

To remind me of this great resource, I keep a picture of soaring eagles just above my computer so that by simply lifting my eyes I can read, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,” Isaiah 40:11.

Walls would fall before Joshua and the power that pushed them down is available to you and me. This is the year to conquer every fear that has imprisoned us in the past.

Let’s trade our fears for faith and expect the greatest year of our lives.

Roger Campbell is an author, radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist from Waterford, Mich.



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