Although we try to be like Jesus, we are not Jesus. As God, Jesus could walk on water and shut lion’s mouths (Daniel 6). He is King of creation and knows the future. But you and I are not, so we still fear lions and storms.
Paul, like us, experienced life’s normal fears and doubts. He was afraid in storms when sailing, worried about the health of his coworkers, and anxious about his converts staying strong in their new faith. Since we fear when we wonder if something bad will happen to what we love in the future, we will fear when we do not know the future. Fear often protects us from danger. A wild lion is no danger to Jesus, who is God, but it is to us! We run away because it can harm us. Without fear in our dangerous world, we would see more destruction and death.
How do we know when to listen to and when to calm our fears? When are they healthy and when are they destructive? We fear lions in the savanna. But at the zoo, we know the lion has no power to harm us from his cage. Our knowledge of the situation informs our fear.
To be delivered from unhealthy fears, we must understand if we are having them for the right reasons and if they have the proper and legitimate place in our minds and hearts. Paul was not crushed by his fear; he did not allow them to dictate his life. Once shipwrecked, he did not allow that experience to fill him with fear for his next voyage. He traveled by ship again and again and again. Even after a shipwreck where he was afraid, Paul knew his God was able to keep him safe in any storm or give him the strength to face any danger.
Think about things you have been afraid of recently. Perhaps losing your job, the health of a family member, or your children’s future. Some fear can protect you and those you love, but do you go further and fear the lion will get out of its cage at the zoo? Like Paul, tell God about your specific fears. Then leave them at God’s feet and move forward with what he has asked you to do.
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