The car had spun out of control and flipped 3 times before it came to a stop upside down in the middle of the freeway. The roof was crushed. My family and I were the first ones on the scene because this all happened right in front of us. It was shocking to say the least. We assumed the driver and all passengers had been killed.
I pulled over and walked up to the car and was faced with the moment of truth, to look inside the car. If I’m honest, I was afraid. I was afraid I would see blood, injury, and death. I was afraid I would see a mom and her children that had been killed. I was afraid to look, but I had to do it.
So I bent down and looked into the car. To my amazement, the driver (a woman) was already crawling out and there were no passengers. When she got out, she stood up and said, “I’m okay!” I was shocked, amazed, and thankful she had not been killed or even severely injured. It was a miracle!
Now as I reflect back on this experience from three weeks ago, I’ve learned a few things about fear. I’ve actually gained some insight from the Christmas story where fear seems to have been a frequent topic. So here is what I’ve learned:
Fear is Rooted in Assuming
Matthew 1:20 – … an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
Joseph was operating in fear and assuming he would face ridicule and public disgrace because of Mary’s apparent infidelity. He assumed if he married her, the unplanned pregnancy would bring shame on him, his extended family, and even the family business.
Little did he know he would be quickly leaving home for a few years with his first stop being Bethlehem, second stop Egypt, then returning home 3 years later when Jesus was a toddler. By then, people had moved on with their lives and when the young couple returned with Jesus, people assumed He was Joseph’s son. Joseph was afraid because he “assumed” and he was wrong.
So if you find yourself struggling with fear, remember, you may be wrong in your assumptions. The more you leave room for being wrong, the less fearful you will be.
Fear Removes God From the Equation
Matthew 1:24 – When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
The angel didn’t tell Joseph to simply not be afraid, he also told him what to do. Based on these instructions, and probably against all his natural instincts and emotions, Joseph stepped out in faith and took Mary as his wife. He was trusting God to have it figured out, because he sure didn’t.
When we operate in fear, it is not only because we are assuming but also because we are not trusting that God will do a work. Fear always shuts down faith and vice versa. This is why God gives us His Word (i.e. Bible) so we can know what He will do and depend on Him to do it. Faith says, “God, I will obey your word and trust you to show up in your timing.” Fear says, “All I know is what I see or feel and that’s the end of the story.”
So if you find yourself struggling with fear, read God’s word, look for what direction He gives you and obey it. If you are new to the Bible, ask a pastor to help you discover God’s truth for your current fear.
The first Christmas was a fearful time for many people (e.g., Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, etc.). In each situation, God’s instructions were to not be afraid and to trust and follow Him. As a result, fear was quelled by faith every time!
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