This post originally published on a previously-owned blog and was imported here to simplify my life. Please excuse any confusion due to this merge. I hope you enjoy the content!
I realize anyone and possibly everyone has dealt with a fear issue before. Whether it was past or is present, whether it was large or small, surely most of you have had a fear of something.
So please don’t misunderstand me as my focus goes to a specific place today. I get we all have this issue…but I also believe the enemy attacks Christians with more of his weapons than those he already has under his wing.
The Fear is Real (in Ministry)
Even more specifically (and here is my focus), the attacks on those in ministry, those serving God cross-culturally or even anyone in leadership in his or her local church appear much stronger to me. I’m not very old, I do not have several decades of Christianity under my belt like many wise people around me, but this has been a very clear observation to me over the years. I have seen pastors’ families hit hard, I have seen missionary families break down, I have seen seemingly strong leaders leave the church and more.
About two years ago, I flew to southern Peru from our home in Ecuador. I was extremely sick in the first trimester of my first pregnancy, but I had promised months earlier to help with a mega project our organization was doing. We weren’t exactly flooded with accounting people. 😉
Of all the years I have served with this church planting organization, I have seen innumerable attacks, temptations, breakdowns, stalls to projects, inexplicable sicknesses and so much more. The devil HATED what we were doing. He HATED how many people Jesus was catching in His arms (and stealing from him). And he HATED those God was using (my team and me).
This particular trip for me (away from my husband and constantly nauseated), I was an easy target. A few nights into the project, in my hotel room, I knew I had to dig deep in the Word or I wasn’t going to make it. I was having indescribable fears about pretty ridiculous stuff. Having been a part of ministry for several years by then, I was intimately familiar with “what could go wrong” and I saw it everywhere…even when it wasn’t there.
I’m writing this out to share my heart with you. To tell you that, if you’re in church leadership or any ministry capacity, I know. I know the attacks the devil brings on your children, on your construction projects or within the deep parts of your marriage.
Many of us know. And you’re not alone.
That dark night in my hotel room brought me to a spotty Skype conversation with my dad (one of my greatest Christian mentors) back in the States, talking about fear and then, when that got cut off, digging deep into the Bible until wee hours.
In my journal, I completely filled a large page with scripture and my written out prayer. My prayer to God was longer than my written words (and continual throughout the night), but it is amazing what putting your pen to paper can do. Try writing out your prayers for a while. (Also read “Too Busy Not to Pray” by Bill Hybels for more thoughts on that.)
Here are the verses I wrote out and often referenced for the rest of that project.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
I want to tell you I was magically cured of fear from then on. That’d be a great thing to be able to say!
But, although I was immensely encouraged and given strength not my own to finish out that trip, the battle is always waging. More thoughts on that another time…
Here are a few more passages I kept in my mind during those two+ weeks in Peru:
(clicking on will enlarge and allow you to save for encouragement.)
Do you have any other Bible verses that strengthen you in time of fear? Have you read any good Christian books that have given you tools to overcome?
May God richly bless and encourage you today.