By Anna Faith Smith
Faculty, College of Theology
The virtues of faith and hope are essential in a Christian’s life but that that does not mean they are automatic or easy. As Christians face difficult times in their paths, they often stumble into fear, uncertainty and despair. This is not surprising or unusual because it is human nature to be fearful and timid when life is tough.
To be honest, our lives are full of challenges, but fear does not need to be a debilitating response in a Christian’s life. Instead, as Christians, we can hold on to the hope that is based in knowing God which will give us the courage that emerges from knowing his character.
As Moses was finishing his time of leadership of the Israelites, when they were about to enter the Promised Land, God gave Moses a message to give to Joshua, the new leader. Moses repeated the same phrase over and over to his replacement. He told Joshua to be strong and courageous and he reminded him that the Lord would go with him. If Moses felt he needed to give Joshua this message multiple times and the original message came directly from God to Moses, even the chosen leader of the Israelites must have been experiencing significant fear as he faced the unknown. After Moses had died and Joshua was leading the people, the Lord continued to repeat the same words to him, saying that he should be strong and courageous and that the Lord would go with him.
We are not living in the same time or experiencing the same challenges as the people of Israel, nor are we confronting the difficulties that Joshua was facing as their leader, but we still face significant times of fear and uncertainty. Life events and the unknown can cause us to wonder what we are going to do next or how we are going to handle the difficulties we expect. The truth is that we have no need to fear. We know the nature of God, his love for us, his presence with us and the guidance he offers. We have every reason to be hopeful. He knows our path and that he has gone before us to make the way smooth for us if we will put our faith in him.
Christians have no need to cower in fear in the face of difficulty or danger. We have the better option of remembering all the times we have seen God work. We can also remember the promises God gave those who followed him, promises such as “I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrew 13:5)” and “I am going to prepare a place for you that where I am you may be also (John 14:3).” With confidence that the Lord is at our side as we face tough decisions, danger, heartache or uncertainty and knowing that he has our future in mind as we go through these experiences, we can walk in confidence and lead others with courage.
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