Paralyzed In Fear

You’ve probably heard stories of people in situations that so badly frightened them they could not move.  I once heard the very sad tale of a boy whose brother slipped in mud while walking along a riverbank that sent him sliding into the water.  When he fell, he hit his head on a rock so hard, he was knocked unconscious.  His brother, who was terribly frightened of water, was paralyzed in fear, rendering him unable to go down into the water to help his brother.

Hearing the boy standing on the bank crying out for help, people arrived on the scene to pull the unconscious boy out of the water but it was too late.  The brother had already drown.  To add to the sadness, the boy was not fully submerged.  His brother could easily have stepped down the bank and lifted his brother’s face out of the water until help arrived.  If not for fear the situation would have been vastly different.

God’s Word tells us that God is not the author of fear.  Therefore, fear that prohibits us from moving forward in a positive manner, comes from the enemy of God — from Satan himself.  This arch enemy of God is also the enemy of every follower of Jesus Christ.  Satan hates that very name and will use every tactic he can conjure up to make us ineffective.  Like all enemies he seeks to destroy and kill.  He wants to destroy success and joy, and to kill all hope and peace in our lives.  He whispers lies that, if we make the mistake to consider the lie, may paralyze us with such a fear that we choose not to walk in the direction that God has chosen for us.  After all, God’s destinations are not always known.  He often asks us just to take a step at a time, trusting the path we take to His leading.

The unknown can be fearful.  When we listen to our enemy, fear can take hold, paralyzing us in fear.  We become weak.  Joy leaves us.  Peace drains away.  Fear is such a joy killer.

“But with God nothing shall be impossible.”  Luke 1:37  

The key word in the above is “with.”  When we rely on our own strength to overcome our fear, it may never happen, but “with” God there is no path too difficult to travel.  “With God” we need fear no direction in which He leads.  We need fear no person or goal to meet.  The key is always — “with God.”

One Twig At A Time

I walked to our mailbox by the road to see if any mail had arrived.  As I was strolling along I looked up and noticed a bird’s nest balancing on a limb!  I stared in amazement!  There were no leaves to help it stay together, nor was it balanced between two limbs; it just rested atop one slim branch.  The wind was blowing, but there it rested securely.

I tried to imagine the bird that decided to build a home in just that spot. One twig at a time would have been put in place.  I don’t understand how it all came together, but I saw it with my own eyes — a beautiful nest.

As I contemplated further, the thought came to me that, that’s how it is when God puts it in our hearts to do something in particular.  Perhaps we tell ourselves that we’re not skilled enough or perhaps we say that someone else can do the job better than us.  Excuses can go on and on.  We want to do what God has put in our hearts to do, but the fear factor can put our efforts into slow motion.

What can we do?  How about, think of one twig at a time.  That’s how the bird built her nest.  Paul ministered to churches in many countries by traveling one day at a time.  Noah built an ark by putting together one board at a time.  Jesus fed 5000 people, one fish at a time.  John baptized in the Jordan River, one person at a time.  Mary gave birth to the Son of God by trusting in Him, one day at a time.  Peter preached to thousands, one crowd at a time.  David led his soldiers into victory, one battle at a time.

Too often, we scare ourselves with our own imagination.  We try to envision the outcome of our attempts.  It’s too big!  We might fail!  What will people think?  How will we ever accomplish the task we have been given to do?  We will accomplish what God asks of us, just like all the examples before us — one step at a time, one day at a time, one prayer at a time.

“For with God, nothing shall be impossible.”  Luke 1:37

The key to this verse is in the word, “with.”  It’s with God that we can do anything that He asks us to do.