“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.” Isaiah 41:10

New challenges produce new fears! Even with the potential for success lurks the threat of defeat. Remember first time events in your past. Do you remember the first time you attempted to ride a bicycle? Were you nervous on your first date? Were you nervous the first time you had to speak in public? Each event had the potential for excitement and celebration, but the possibility of hurt and embarrassment.

Many fears are of the unknown. A groom nervously awaits the entrance of his bride. A new father paces the floor to hear of the birth of his child. An anxious parent peers out the blinds to see when their teenager is returning from a date with a new love. Our tendency is to anticipate problems, not blessings. We feel more comfortable playing “worse case scenario.” Rarely do we relax in the shadow of the unknown.

Such was the case with the nation of Israel. For many years, they had been in exile, praying to return to their homeland. Through King Cyrus, God had provided all they needed. The one thing God expected from those He led was faith and courage to claim the blessing He was giving them.

Seven times around this verse, God says, “Fear not!” Fear is the absence of faith. Fear is the focus on failure. Fear is the doubt of God’s love and faithfulness. Fear is the expectation of receiving what we deserve.

Confidence comes when you know God is with you. You have no doubt He can handle every situation. You expect God to strengthen you where you are weak and help you where you can not go alone. Confidence is rooted in what God is doing, not what you are doing.

If this week has a new challenge for you to face, believe God has gone before you to prepare the way. Rest in God’s faithful covenant love for you. Instead of fretting over something you can’t control, give it to God. He is ready, willing, and able to make your blessings come true.

Bro. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, 4032 Poplar Springs Drive, Meridian. Visit the church website at www.psdbc.org. From the Shepherd's Heart is published Fridays in The Meridian Star.

 

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