What are you so afraid of that it threatens your ability to trust God? It is easy to trust God with things that don’t matter so much. But when we face the big crises, the events that can break our hearts or destroy our dreams, the things that can alter the course of our plans or impact the rest of our lives – those threats often make the size of our fear seem so much bigger than the power of our God. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, death of a loved one, loss of independence, loss of income, threat of physical harm – these are just a few of the things my Sunday School class listed as their biggest fears. How we respond to those big threats indicates what we believe about God.

 Your most powerful testimony will not come from the days where all goes well, when you consistently get your way, when happiness is easy. The strength of your faith is best displayed in how you handle adversity. Anyone can be nice when they are not challenged; God’s power is most evident when we depend on him and show his character and love, rather than default to our own anger, frustration, and fear.

 But the tricky part is to know what God wants us to do because “fight”, “flight” and “trust” are all examples of godly approaches to threat. To Gideon he said, “Go forth in the strength that you have.” (Jud 6:14) When the crowd threatened to throw Jesus over the cliff, Jesus left. (Luke 4:30) When the Hebrews were pinned between drowning in the Red Sea and certain destruction of the Egyptian army, God said, “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” (Ex 14:4)  

When Elijah heard Jezebel’s threat to kill him, he ran, a day’s journey into a wilderness 100 miles away. There is no evidence he prayed; his “field trip” was apparently his own idea. When he got there, God made sure he was fed and rested, but then God asked, “What are you doing here?” In I Kings 19 God sent a wind, an earthquake, and a fire to the mountain, but Elijah knew that God wasn’t in those. However, when Elijah heard the still small voice, he knew God was speaking.

 How did he know? How did he sort out the events he saw and the events he feared from God’s word? God didn’t change Elijah’s circumstances; he didn’t guarantee protection from Jezebel, and he didn’t reprimand him for his lack of faith in the face of his fear. God just gave him specific instructions for what was to come next.

 What does your obedience to God look like in regard to the things you fear right now? To take an unpopular, difficult stand? To withdraw or run away? To trust him to bring his will? Sincerely ask God to make your path clear, even (and especially) if it’s a path you don’t want to take. Ask him to give you the strength and courage to obey his will, rather than insisting that he adopt your plan. Be quiet enough to hear his still, small voice. Lean in to his presence and his word to see how your current circumstances can become your future testimony. Trust the one who knows the future to lead you forward in obedience.

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