Sunday, October 12, 2014

A spirit of fearfulness

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, 
but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
2 Timothy 1:7

I was on a camping trip recently learning wilderness survival skills. It's been a hobby/passion of mine for the last four years or so. There were four other guys there that I hadn't met before, and in between instructional sessions, we had a lot of down time to get to know one another. There was a lot of random conversation about typical guy stuff. But one conversation topic from one guy in particular kind of surprised me. He frequently brought up the topic of the recent Ebola infections in the US. Now, this in and of itself isn't all that surprising; Ebola is big news these days. It was his reaction to it that surprised me.

From other things he said over the weekend, I am pretty sure he is a believer. And yet, multiple times a day, he would pull out his cell phone to check the latest news on Ebola. He and his family are planning a big move sometime next year. But at one point, he said something like "If they have 10 reported cases of Ebola in Dallas, I'm packing up my family and moving them now." Another time while he was checking and relaying to us the latest news, he said in a nervous, sing-song kind of voice, "We're gonna get Ebola."

One believer is so concerned about a situation that he's ready to move his family hundreds or thousands of miles at a moment's notice. Another sits casually in front of a keyboard writing about it. What makes the difference? Do I just not understand how serious Ebola really is? Perhaps. But there is one thing I do understand that overrides any fear, concern, or anxiety about whatever way I may leave this life or face in this life while I am still here:

A man’s heart plans his way,
but the Lord determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

The Lord of Hosts has sworn:
As I have purposed, so it will be;
as I have planned it, so it will happen.
Isaiah 14:24

If God has ordained that I will die by Ebola, then there's nothing that I can do to alter that decree. I don't drive to Dallas, find the hospital where the infections are and bathe in the virus. But I also don't plan on moving my family hundreds of miles further away at a moment's notice. If you have read my thoughts on the Second Coming of Jesus, you understand that I believe that believers will be here to experience some pretty awful stuff before Jesus comes back. And though I had studied and started to implement several different strategies for preparing for when "all hell breaks loose," I don't do that now because I realized that I would be acting out of a spirit of fearfulness to do so.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I study and prepare for emergency survival scenarios. I do this because I am interested in acquiring the knowledge that I hope I will never have to use. But, and this is important, I am not driven by a spirit of fear in doing so. 

In whatever situation you may be currently facing or see potentially coming on the horizon, sometimes how you respond is not as important as why you respond the way you do. The guy I mentioned earlier, I don't know what his motivations are. God obviously has a different plan for his life than He does for mine, and it is not for me to judge God's servant (Romans 14:4). But one thing I do know that applies to him and me and all disciples of Jesus: 

You cannot trust God and fear the unknown at the same time.

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, 
but you received the Spirit of adoption, 
by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”
Romans 8:15

Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow,
because tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

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