I could write 20 more posts on the lessons I am continuing to learn as a result of my summer in Australia, but for now, I will end with number five and the promises God has been reminding me of for the past few years. It’s a tough reality to face when you realize you can never fully explain God’s work, and I so wish everyone could have been a part of my summer and that I could adequately summarize His ministry that took place. But then again, there is comfort to be found in knowing God did things words have no business explaining.
5. We will always be fighting fear.
I spent most of my summer simply spending time with people my age. And though there were countless differences between Aussie and American young adults, the underlying spiritual battle for all of us was blatantly the same: fear. Our sin tendencies and surface level struggles might have looked pretty different, but when it came to the coal fueling the fire, culture and location did not matter. We all struggle with being scared.
I have heard a lot of people claim they have no regrets in life because they’ve learned from their mistakes, and I know firsthand that God can take our sinful decisions, pick up the pieces and make something beautiful. But, I have a hard time agreeing with that mindset… or even believing people honestly feel that way. It is certainly a good way to make us feel better about our sin, but I would be telling lies if I said I had no regrets, and most of my regrets stem from the moments I missed out on God-given opportunities because I was too scared. By no means do I dwell on these missed opportunities, nor do I define myself by them, but I recognize I have missed countless beautiful, enriching and joyful moments, and even friendships, because I succumbed to fear.
This summer I was reminded of this reality, and it was awesome to be able to stand alongside new friends and encourage each other to walk in the boldness Christ calls His followers to. In a lot of ways, I think many of us are waiting on some sort of permission to step forward in our faith–stepping out of mediocrity and into the radical excellence Christ requires of us. We’re scared because we might be doing it alone, or we might be new at this, or we hate the thought of the unknown and what crazy things Jesus might ask of us.
The only answer I have is that there has to be a reason “do not be afraid” is the most common commandment God gives us in the Bible. Our Creator must be pretty confident in His ability to provide, protect and love His creation.
There is no way we can remove fear from each other; I think that’s what the Holy Spirit does, but we do have the responsibility as Christ-followers to encourage each other. EnCOURAGE. Give each other courage. So, this is my way of encouraging you: You are not alone in your fear as a Christian. Every Christian you know is fighting fear each day they decide “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” The Lord has given you every reason to trust Him, and you will never regret choosing boldness. Here’s God’s promise:
“Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Don’t believe the lie that you are the exception to His promises. Despite any situation or relationship that may be clouding our vision of God’s presence, He is here now, and we have absolutely no reason to fear.