For years, fear dictated my life.
I was afraid of the future, afraid of what people would think of me, and afraid that I was missing out on something better. I still struggle with fear. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t have to wrestle my fear to the ground and hand it over to God. It’s a constant struggle.
I’m looking forward to the day that I finally get over my fears. Maybe when I finally get close enough to God, I will conquer these fears.
There is only one problem. This is a lie.
We will never overcome our fears. Not completely, anyway. I was reminded of this when I read today’s Christmas story.
The Fear of Joseph
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”
So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
As I read this story, it struck me that Joseph was afraid.
Follow me on this one. Joseph had an angel deliver the news that he and Mary were having a baby. This baby was going to be the Messiah. When the Wise Men came and Herod tried to kill Jesus (We talked about this story here), God protected them. We are talking about the Christmas story, here! There was something miraculous at every turn. Angles. Stars. Magi. Supernatural protection and dreams.
And Joseph was still afraid.
I don’t question the faith of Joseph. Instead, I find a lot of comfort in this story. If Joseph experienced so many acts of God that were clear and visible, I don’t feel like I need to beat myself up for feeling fear.
Fear doesn’t mean I don’t trust God or that I’m not a good Christian.
It simply means I am human, and I live in a broken world.
It also means that God still loves us, protects us, and is greater than any of our fears!
Facing Our Fears
Do you have any fears? Of course!
And that’s ok.
If Joseph experienced so much of God but was still afraid, then I think it’s ok for us. Because the best part of the story is what is missing from the story…
God wasn’t upset with Joseph. He didn’t get a lecture from God. It was like God understood. There was a real threat for Joseph to be concerned about. God knew this, and He took care of it. He didn’t punish Joseph.
He protected him.
We are going to have fear in this life. The fear of paying our bills. The fear of reaching our dreams and potential. The fear of acceptance. The fear of clowns! (Clowns are no joke, people!)
With God’s help, we can face these fears.
Without God, we fail.
It’s that simple. With God = victory. Without God = anxiety.
I don’t want to live with anxiety, worry, and depression that fear can cause.
I want to live with victory.
Embrace the Fear. Trust God.
We cannot avoid fear. It’s a defense mechanism that is hard-wired in our brains. It serves a purpose. We don’t have to be afraid of fear. We can embrace our ability to fear. Then…
Trust God. At every turn, trust God.
We can experience fear. The problem comes when we allow our fear to get bigger than God. NO fear is ever bigger than God! You’ll have fear in this world. Embrace it. And trust God.
If we are honest about our fear and give it to God, we can live a life of victory and purpose!