Dentist. Doesn’t that word sends chills down your spine? Next week, I will be on my way to one and I’m pretty sure the words root and canal are in my future. I’ve never even had a cavity. I’m pretty dang scared, folks.
Four c-sections. An appendectomy which almost killed me. Those things are nothing when compared with a man sticking a needle into your mouth. Am I right or am I right? Okay, I have no idea if I’m right but that is the fearful part! So, what do we do when God has called us to a fearful place. When we have a legitimate reason to be a little anxious about that the place, person or circumstance to which we are being called.
What if there was a man who swore he would kill you. In fact, he absolutely hated you. Imagine that you were able to flee. You were hidden far away living your life and the man who promised to cause your death had no idea where you were. Then, imagine you were told to go back. Not just to the country or the town where that angry man lived, but right to him. What if you were called to face the very thing you feared the most?
Let’s talk about a man named Jacob. Join me on the HomeLife blog.
Sometimes, God calls us to fearful things. He leads us to walk on stormy seas and to risk all that we have in obedience to Him. Yet, what I love about God is that He does not tell us the what and then leave us to figure out the how. What is a person to do when God sends us out to confront our fears?
Then the Lord said to him, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.” – Genesis 31:3 HCSB
Go back home. Those must have been scary words for Jacob. Surely, he still remembered why he left home. His brother, Esau, was intent on killing him for stealing their father’s blessing. Jacob fled for his life and had no reason to believe anything had changed in Esau’s heart. What was Jacob’s response? Honest obedience.
In the face of great fear and distress, Jacob does four things.
- He calls upon God. (Genesis 32:9) Whether we are dealing with fear, disappointment or sadness, there is only one place we should turn.
- He remembers his place before God. (Genesis 32:10) We are deserving of nothing good from God’s hand.
- He admits his fear to God. (Genesis 32:11) We must go to God with our feelings.
- He remembers the Word of God. (Genesis 32:12) In our times of fear and distress, we must remember the promises of God.
There is no way around it – sometimes God calls us to face the fearful things in our lives. But, look back at God’s words to Jacob. He instructs Jacob to face his fear and He promises to be with him in the same breath.
We do not face our fears alone.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Joseph Valk
I feel like I am currently wrestling with God.
I think God is leading me in a certain direction, but I struggle with not knowing all of the details. I’m afraid to commit without knowing the long term plan. I question whether or not I am understanding God correctly. Every time I think I know what is about to happen…I am blindsided by a different set of circumstances or possibilities. My husband said it perfectly when he recently said “I feel like I’m running a marathon and they keep moving the finish line.”
Taking my current circumstances into account, it is only appropriate that I have been reading in Genesis about Jacob. Jacob who wrestled with God…literally. All night they wrestled. I feel like I’ve been there. I have wrestled with God many nights trying to figure out where He was leading me. And, even when I feel like He has told me, I then struggle with the why and the how. In some ways, I feel like I can empathize with Jacob.
Jacob was heading home. It had been twenty years since he had lied to his father, Isaac, and stolen the blessing intended for his brother, Esau. Twenty years since he had fled from Canaan. He had started a new life. He was a married man with numerous offspring and much wealth. His life was quite comfortable and I can’t help but think that Jacob would have been happy living out the rest of his days there. However, a rift develops between Jacob and his father-in-law and he is forced to leave his home once again. Where will he go now?
The Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.” ~Genesis 31:3
Jacob is told to go home. Home. The same home with the angry brother who wanted him dead. The same home with the father who had been deceived years before. And God gives Jacob no indication regarding the kind of welcome he will receive. He just tells him, “I will be with you.” I’m not giving you all of the answers right now, Jacob. I’m not going to ease your mind. I’m not going to tell you what is going to happen. But, I will be with you.
This is where faith comes in to play. This is where I have a chance to show that I believe what I say I believe. Though I have not been given all (or any) of the answers, I trust anyway. I walk in the direction God leads and I don’t worry about the end destination. I just trust that God is with me on the journey. After all, I would much rather walk with God into unknown territory than stay in the comfort of the known by myself.