The Bravest Step You Can Take
Clark Kent. Indiana Jones. William Wallace. These were some of my favorite movie heroes growing up. They were the bravest of men. They faced enormous, sometimes super-human challenges. They overcame. They conquered.
I admired them for their courage. I envied their indomitable will.
I used to believe these men had no fear. How I longed to have no fear.
I imagined that it must have been Clark Kent’s Superman cape that gave him the strength to defeat Lex Luther. I thought that Indiana Jones’ cunning intellect and his whip were what allowed him to overcome just about anything. I could picture William Wallace thrusting his sword into the air on screen as he rode like the wind across the battlefield and imagined that it was his burning conviction for family and country that gave him the courage to face such overwhelming odds. These are the things I used to believe.
Over the years I have come to realize these brave men were not immune from fear. They felt it. There were moments before the great battles where they struggled within themselves, where they pondered, where they were — scared. Yes, they were scared. If they didn’t experience fear, the challenge wouldn’t have been so great, the victory wouldn’t have been so sweet.
We all feel fear. We will all be scared. The difference for them is they didn’t shrink back from their fear. They acknowledged fear, walked right up to it, looked it in the eye— and they took the next step anyway.
Isn't that what Jesus did? Wasn't He the greatest of all superheroes? Scripture tells us that even in the Garden of Gethsemane before He was handed over to Pontius Pilate, before He was crucified, before He overcame death, hell and the grave, that he cried out to God, that He sweat blood. I can only imagine the fear and anguish He felt as He prayed to have the cup pass from Him. Yet in the face of the unimaginable, He got up from His knees, He submitted Himself to the Father’s will — and He took the next step anyway. For you. For me.
I often wondered what it would feel like to overcome my fear. I hated my fear. I was scared of so much. I was scared of snakes. I was scared of the dark at night as I lay in my bed. I was scared of losing, of rejection, of the unknown, and yes, I was terrified of fear itself. It consumed me. Paralyzed me. I certainly didn’t feel like a superhero.
I prayed for my fear to disappear. I begged for it to be taken away. I thought if God loved me, He wouldn’t want me to feel it either. Surely a life with Christ should mean a life absent of these feelings that were so unpleasant and unkind, relentless and shrewd.
As I studied and grew, God gave me a clearer understanding of fear. God never promised us a life without struggles. He didn’t. Life will always have Mt. Everest’s to climb. There will be times we will feel like we are fighting to swim upstream. And just as sure as the day, we will feel fear — sometimes agonizing fear. These feelings are part of what makes us decidedly human.
The difference is we don’t have to be slaves to our fear.
What God promised in Psalm 118:6 is that, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” In Deuteronomy 31:6 He says to, “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."
He says that we don’t have to be afraid. We don’t even need capes or whips or swords. What we as Christians have is better — we have the Lord who goes with us wherever we go. We can face any obstacle, we can conquer any fear because He is right by our side.
He will never leave us. He will never forsake us.
Perhaps bravery doesn’t come in the absence of fear. Perhaps bravery comes in simply facing our fear, knowing the battle is already won.
What is the Mountain Everest that stands in front of you today?
What is the greatest fear you face?
You don’t have to run from your fear any longer. You don’t have to let it paralyze you and steal from you the sweetness of victory.
With the Lord, you can face the fear that cannot kill you, acknowledge it, look it right in the eye – and take the next step anyway!
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