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 weak ones, 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 eight 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 expressed pity for the real unseeing, for those who have eyes still 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."
Dr. V. Raymond Edman, former president of Wheaton College (Illinois), wrote: "Faith is dead to doubts, dumb to discouragements, blind to impossibilities, knows nothing but success. Faith lifts its hands up through the threatening clouds, lays hold of Him who has all power in heaven and earth. Faith makes the uplook good, the outlook bright, the inlook favorable and the future glorious."
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.
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, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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