The Fear Factor
God gave a very clear directive to Jonah, but Jonah didn’t like what God said, so he thought he’d run away from God. (Ever been there?) Instead of facing his fears and obeying the Lord, he paid money to go a different direction.
What did his fare buy for him?
- He had to face a violent storm while on the wrong ship.
- He faced the humiliation of having all of the men on board know that he was disobeying God. What a wonderful testimony he gave for the Lord!
- He got thrown overboard. He surely didn’t count on that taking place or he would have asked for a discounted ticket!
- He caused great fear in the other men when they threw him overboard.
- He got to spend three days in the belly of a huge fish, living among all of the putrid stomach acids — the likes of which I don’t even think “Fear Factor” would use on their television show.
Finally, Jonah faces up to his sin. In Jonah 2:8, he mentions that those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. Could it be that fear becomes an idol when it hinders us from doing God’s will?
After confessing his sin, Jonah finds himself being vomited onto dry land. From there, he completes the task God set before him — the very task that had previously left him dealing with the fear factor.
If you are battling fear, here are some promises for you:
Ps. 27:1 The Lord is my light and salvation, so whom shall I fear?
Ps. 34:4 God delivers me from ALL my fears.
Ps. 91:5 You don’t need to fear the terror of night, the arrows that fly by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the dark, or the plague that strikes at midday.
Is. 41:10 Don’t fear, for I am with you.
Is. 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace the woman whose mind is fixed on you because she trusts in you.
Jn. 16:33 In this world you will face tribulations (including battling with fear), but take courage because Jesus has overcome the world.
Heb. 13:5 NEVER will I leave you, NEVER will I forsake you.
Do you need to take a fear factor before the Lord?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller
Fearing to Look Younger
I had a very interesting thing happen one weekend. My husband took us out to eat, and while standing in line, waiting to pay, I saw a face from my past. It was a girl who beat me up when I was in sixth grade, and she was in eighth. While I went through months of being terrified to go to school each day, that fear no longer grips me. I even approached this gal and asked if she remembered me. She didn’t, so I proceeded to tell her where I knew her from, what my name was, and then I added, “You beat me up.” The look on her face was priceless! She was so embarrassed! It gave us both a good laugh.
While we can all laugh at a story like that, seeing her again didn’t put fear into me, but sadness. She is only two years older than me, but she looks about fifteen years older. I have been praying for her because the hard lines on her face spoke volumes to me as to what kind of life she has lived over the last thirty years.
One thing I’ve noticed about serving the Lord is that it can take years off of your face. (Thank you Jesus!) I have been told many times that I look much younger than what I really am. I give all of the credit for that to my Master. Jesus wasn’t lying to us when He said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Mt. 11:30) While we all deal with fear at some point in our lives, there is another kind of fear that is for our own good. It is the fear of the Lord, and there are many rewards found in having this kind of fear.
Ps. 19:9 The fear of the Lord is pure, and it endures forever.
Ps. 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who walk in the way of His precepts have good understanding.
Pr. 8:13 The fear of the Lord leads one to hate evil. (When we hate evil, we work hard to avoid it, and it can add years to our life because we aren’t dealing with the guilt and consequences of doing evil.)
Pr. 10:27 The fear of the Lord adds length to life. (I believe it softens our countenance, causing us to look much younger too.)
Pr. 14:27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning one from the snares of death.
Pr. 15:33 The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom. (When we walk in wisdom, it can save us from a lot of things that can could otherwise lead to excessive worrying, ulcers, and lack of sleep.)
Pr. 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life. (Jesus mentions coming to give us life abundantly. Part of that ‘life’ is learning to fear Him.)
Do you want to look younger? Do you want to live life abundantly? Get a healthy fear of the Lord, and see what benefits you may reap!
© 2004, Stacy R Miller