In my natural state, I can be a fearful person. Fear of the unknown, fear for the safety of my children, and concerns of the future can be paralyzing. I often desire to live in my comfort zone, trying to control life’s outcome.
To become all that God wants for me. I must choose faith over fear.
In Joshua chapter two, there is a documentation of a woman named Rahab. Her example motivates me. She chose faith instead of fear. She was able to take a very bold action step, amid of a fearful situation. She is a beautiful picture of someone choosing faith over fear. The fear did not paralyze her nor, did it define her. She rose above it. Rahab chose faith when her entire city chose fear.
Take a minute and read Joshua 2 (ESV) It is empowering:
“And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof. So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out.
Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”
Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. And she said to them, “Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
They departed and went into the hills and remained there three days until the pursuers returned, and the pursuers searched all along the way and found nothing. Then the two men returned. They came down from the hills and passed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they told him all that had happened to them. And they said to Joshua, “Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.”
When reading through this story, we see how Rahab acted wisely, in a fearful situation. Here are four practical action steps that I have found to be very helpful.
The first step is to Analyze your fear. Identify your fear. What is causing the panic? Is it valid? Sometimes we worry for the sake of worrying. Mark Twain once said, “I have spent most of my life worrying about things that have never happened.” Sometimes, we are too busy letting our minds run with all the “what if’s” to have any peace. “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength.” (Corrie Ten Boom)
Rahab, on the other hand, had a real situation. Her land was about to be attacked. She describes in her own words in verses 8 and 11; “the terror of you has fallen on us.” “We are fainthearted because of you.”
So, WHEN FEAR STARES YOU IN THE FACE:
Acknowledge how big your God is.
Look at your fear with Christ as the backdrop. He is more significant than your situation. Your circumstance has not taken Him by surprise. He is in control. Remind yourself of the miracles of our LORD. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 4:5-6 (KJV)
Ask for help. In Joshua 2:12, Rahab asked for help from the spies. (Joshua 2:12-13) You have permission to ask for help. Petition your friends. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reads “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor; If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ask for help from our heavenly Father. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
Act on what you believe. Move forward in faith. Rahab did what the spies instructed her to do. She had the scarlet rope in the window. By faith, she did what she knew to do. When we are fearful, we must act out our faith. We can step into the situation according to our faith. Just do it, one step at a time.
Sweet ladies, whatever you are facing today, choose faith over fear! I refuse to stay paralyzed in my fear. I am taking a step towards everything God has called me to be. How about you? Next time fear stares you in the face, I challenge you to adopt these four steps. Analyze your fear, acknowledge your God, ask for help, and act on your belief!
Be brave, be bold, and be brilliant because that my friend is how God created you to be!
Revised printing of “Facing Fear with a Handful of Chocolate” 9/21/18