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Facing the future

January 2013 | by Doug Nichols

Facing the future

The term ‘fear not’ is found many times in the Bible. There are almost as many ‘fear not’ statements as there are days in the year. I feel that each of these statements is there for me, because I am not a brave person. I am intimidated by others, terrified to speak in public and afraid in dangerous situations.
    In 1994 I was working in Zaire among Rwandan refugees. People were being slaughtered nightly; each morning we walked among the bodies on the ground. In three terrifying days, 50,000 people died. I was afraid.
    Recently I awoke in the middle of the night worried for my country’s future with its abortions, debt, hopeless millions without employment, bad economy and declining morality. How will we continue to support mission work around the world?
    My wife, Margaret, often challenges my fears with a passage from I Peter: ‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you’ (I Peter 5:6-7, ESV).
    Fear and worry are sources of pride. We often think that by worrying we are somehow in charge, when, in fact, only God can handle the terrible situations we face. Even in a dangerous, difficult and sinful world, God will take care of his children.
Cast it all on God

So let’s do that today. Let’s cast all our fears, anxieties and worries on God because he cares for us.
    One thing that causes fear is the thought that God could never use you. But when you feel God cannot use you, it is helpful to remember that Noah was a drunk, Abraham was too old, Isaac was a day-dreamer, Jacob was a liar, Leah was ugly, Joseph was spoiled, Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid.
    Samson was a womaniser, Rahab was a prostitute, Jeremiah and Timothy were too young, David had an affair and was a murderer, Elijah was suicidal, Jonah ran from God, Naomi was a widow, Job went bankrupt.
    Peter denied Christ, the disciples slept through prayer, Martha worried over everything, the Samaritan woman was divorced more than once, Zacchaeus was too small, Timothy had a stomach problem, and Lazarus was dead.
    ‘But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that he may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God’ (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, NASB).

Doug Nichols
Founder and International Director Emeritus of ACTION International Ministries