But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
- Isaiah 43:1-3
“Could you use some courage? Are you backing down more than you are standing up? Jesus scattered the butterflies out of the stomachs of his nervous disciples. …
“We need to remember that the disciples were common men given a compelling task. Before they were the stained-glass saints in the windows of cathedrals, they were somebody’s next-door neighbors trying to make a living and raise a family. They weren’t cut from theological cloth or raised on supernatural milk. But they were an ounce more devoted than they were afraid and, as a result, did some extraordinary things
“Earthly fears are no fears at all. Answer the big question of eternity, and the little questions of life fall into perspective.”
- Max Lucado, The Applause of Heaven
Even at the point where Jesus ascended into Heaven, giving the Great Commission before He left, some of the disciples still had doubts. Sometimes those doubts are brought on by fear. C. S. Lewis talked of pain resembling fear. It seems that fear is one of Satan’s arrows in his quiver, but we do not have to fall for that lie.
Jesus is in each believer. Ken Davis’ comedy routine, Super Sheep, speaks of us being sheep, but we are more than sheep. We have Jesus. That makes us Super Sheep. Yet, do we walk down the path containing lions, and tigers, and bears… Oh, my! Sorry, I can’t resist! … Do we walk down that path without our hearts racing, just a little?
When the disciples were martyred, were they fearful or were they thinking, ‘Ah, I now get to be with Jesus!’
Lucado mentioned that earthly fears are not really fears.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in his first inaugural speech, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Are we in full retreat? We might say that we are like the Korean War general, Oliver P. Smith, who said, (and pardon the coarse language) “Retreat, hell! We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction.” Actually, he was quite right. To return to South Korea from the Chosin Reservoir, he had to fight his way back, having been cut off, but you know what I mean, I think. We are timid in spreading the word about a loving Savior, and most of us are not facing certain martyrdom.
Thursday night, I will be on stage in a one-man show – sort of. I pray that the room is filled, but more importantly, I pray that there are those in the room who have been touched by the Holy Spirit to hear the message. I will be doing a comedy act, impersonations of four comedians. All the stories relate to Scripture in a direct or vague way, but more importantly, the stories relate humor and laughter to the Joy that knowing Jesus brings, part of my closing remarks.
We all have our gifts. Are you courageous enough to use them?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.