Responding to Fear
Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Acts 27:23-25 NIV
Paul and his shipmates had been driven across the Mediterranean by a storm for the past two weeks. The crew had lost all hope of survival and all were in a state of despair. With no sign of abatement in the tumult, out steps Paul with a word of hope for all.
The previous night an angel from the Lord had appeared to Paul and promised to see him out of this storm and on to Rome. Paul exhorts those onboard not to lose hope, respond with courage, for he believed what God had promised.
Note that Paul takes a public stand that God would do exactly as He promised, regardless that present circumstances seemed to preclude a good outcome. It was Paul’s faith in God’s promises that they were encouraged not to lose hope and keep up their courage.
Like Paul, faith in the promises of God can be contagious and bring hope when others have lost their own. As Kingdom leaders we can be confident in God’s faithfulness to His promises and point others to these, boldly proclaiming that we believe that He will do exactly what He has promised to do.
For those of this world, confidence in their own ability experience or resources, is the response to fear. But when those worldly resources are exhausted hope is lost and a sense of gloom can take over. For Kingdom people – God’s children – faith is the opposite of fear. But our faith is based upon God, His promises and power to never leave us or forsake us in our trials. It is founded on the reality that He never changes and has promised to never leave us. He will see us through every trial that He allows to touch us.
We must avoid the sin of presumption, for presumption acts based upon zeal or worldly wisdom, without God’s direction. Presumption is foolishness and God will expose it. David prayed in Psalm 19:13 (ESV), “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.”
The storms of life come upon all people (see Matthew 7:24-27). But only one type of person stands the test – those who hear the Word of God and obey it.
May we be those people and point others to the ONE who will see us through the storm!