Stepping Into the Unknown With Fear and Trusting Jesus Will Never Abandon Us

One of my favorite places to visit as a child was Island Park in a small town in NW Iowa. I remember the challenge of crossing the river on stepping-stones at the bottom of a waterfall.

A couple of steps were missing and left wide gaps of uncertainty. As I sat on a step and reached my bare toes underneath the water, I could still feel the missing step’s slimy, slippery foundation. Dare I step forward?

Sometimes I didn’t dare. Other times I risked it, but I soon changed my mind when I nearly slipped into the rushing water. However, there were also times I did brave it and got to the other side of the river with a shout of victory.

Sometimes a flood drowns out Island Park. The river rages and obliterates all traces of any steps at all. When devastating storms in our lives churn up chaos in our hearts, the way forward can get blinded by fear. What if we take the wrong step? What if we fail? What if we get hurt again?

When Peter walked on the water towards Jesus, he stepped out in blind faith. His eyes were fixed on Jesus, and he gave no thought to missing stepping-stones. But then his heart looked away from Jesus, and all he saw were the winds whipping up the waves to a frenzy. His courage crashed. And he sank in fear… Save me, Lord! (Matthew 14:22-34)

Jesus stretched out His hand and rescued him. Even though he doubted. And He will do the same for us, even when we become faint of heart. Jesus never holds our lack of trust against us. He rescues us anyway.

Our lives are like taking small steps of faith, aren’t they? Small steps, not without fear, but in spite of fear. Sometimes one step forward and two steps back, but still forward.

We don’t know what lies ahead of us in this world. As we reach our toes ahead into uncertainty, our hearts may tremble with fear. Sometimes we slip and slide and fall wounded. Sometimes fear sinks us when we lose our focus on our only hope in Jesus. In panic, we cry out to God.

Again and again, Jesus will grasp our hand with His hand of powerful, unfailing love, pull us up again, and give us the strength to go on. He’s got us in His firm grip, and He’s not going to let us go.

“If God hadn’t been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, ‘I’m slipping, I’m falling,’
Your love, GOD, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
You calmed me down and cheered me up.”
Psalm 94:17-19 MSG
“That’s right. Because I, your GOD,
have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
I’m right here to help you.'”
Isaiah 41:13 MSG
“When struck by fear,
I let go, depending securely upon You alone.”
Psalm 56:3 VOICE

“I Am Not Alone”
by Kari Jobe

 

Mary’s Devotion to God and His Way In Spite of Scorn

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord;
let it be to me according to Your Word.”

Can you imagine an angel from God suddenly appearing in front of you? Telling you something will happen to you that is so incomprehensible that no one on earth can ever understand it?

What a shock it must have been for Mary, coming from the disregarded, despised city of Nazareth. She was among the poor and unnoticed.

But God noticed her. He chose her to carry our Savior, truly God who became poor so that we might become rich.

“You know the grace that has come to us
through our Lord Jesus the Anointed.
He set aside His infinite riches
and was born into the lowest circumstance
so that you may gain great riches
through His humble poverty.”
2 Corinthians 8:9 Voice

When the angel appeared, Mary became frightened, but the angel told her:

“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Now listen:
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will call His name Jesus.
He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His kingdom will have no end.”
Luke 1:30-33 HCSB

Mary was baffled, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied to her:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,

and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35 HCSB

Wow! God poured in His grace, and Mary opened her heart and believed this was not impossible with God. She answered His call, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your Word.” (Luke 1:38 ESV)

What would this illegitimate birth mean for Mary in the culture in which she lived?  Her father might have cast her out and forced her into begging. She would be scorned and could even be put to death, but God took care of all this and told Joseph not to abandon her and to go ahead and marry her anyway.

She may still have been under suspicion. Maybe she even lost friends.

A difficult journey was ahead of her, and she knew her submission to God would be costly. Yet she remained devoted to Him and freely offered Him her body and soul. It was more important to her to follow God and have His favor than gain the approval of people.

O Lord, are we that available to You? Please help us to give You our whole hearts and lives, both body and soul. Make us open to whatever You have in mind for us in this life, even when we can’t understand it or we meet with resistance. Like Mary, help us to put Your favor and glory above people’s approval and favor. Enable us to throw ourselves into Your hands with a childlike trust as Your servants, ready to do or be whatever You ask us to! Help us to make room in our hearts for You! We invite You to be born in the stinking, dirty stable of our hearts! Help us to embrace and be filled with awe that You became poor so we might become rich! Thank You for Your free gift of unspeakable love!

 

Thoughts on Courage

Courage Is Possible Through God’s Grace
He Is With Us
He Will Never Leave Us

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated.
Don’t give them a second thought because God,
your God, is striding ahead of you.
He’s right there with you.
He won’t let you down; He won’t leave you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 The Message
I have told you these things,
so that in Me you may have
 [perfect] peace.
In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering,
but be courageous
 [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; 
I have overcome the world.”

[My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]”

John 16:33 AMP
“But when I am afraid,
    I will put my trust in You.
I praise God for what He has promised.
    I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
    What can mere mortals do to me?”
Psalm 56:3-4

Courage Quotes

(Some of my favorite courage quotes from my Quote Page.)

“Courage, the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language — it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart — and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” – Brené Brown

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea 
that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you’re licked 
before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. 
You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” 

- Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

Courage means not allowing your limitations to eclipse God’s possibilities.” ~ Christine Caine

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Courage Resources from Renee Swope:

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence

Promises to Personalize

When have you been afraid and needed courage?
What Bible verse has strengthened you?
Do you have a favorite courage quote?


“Take Courage”
by Kristene DiMarco