From Amazed to Afraid

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Without Purse or Script” by Liz L. Swindle

Read and reflect on Mark 10:32-34.

Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed, they were afraid. Mark 10:32 NKJV

Jesus was walking into a lion’s den. The disciples knew the Pharisees were just waiting for a chance to get rid of Him. They’d witnessed the many times the Pharisees had tried to trap Jesus. And they’d heard the words of warning Jesus had given them twice before: That He would suffer terrible things when He went to Jerusalem, be rejected by the religious powers that be, and be killed. And He’d rise from the dead.

They knew danger lay ahead, but there was no convincing Jesus to stay out of Jerusalem. They couldn’t fathom it. Their sense was to protect their Master, to keep Him with them as long as possible. Why would He knowingly go to a place where death awaited Him? They were amazed not only that He dared to go but also that His steps were firm, His attitude resolute.

Amazement was nothing new to the disciples. It had been a daily occurrence for the three years they’d followed Him, lived with Him, learned from Him. But their amazement turned to fear as they drew nearer to the “City of Peace.” Did Jesus want to die?

Yes. He had to, for only the sinless Lamb could become the sacrifice needed to take away our sins. This wasn’t what they signed on for three years earlier when Jesus invited them to follow Him. They thought He’d set up His kingdom and they’d be the bigwigs. James and John even asked to sit on either side of Him—the places of highest honor. How little they understood!

Isn’t the same with us? When we first decide to follow Jesus, we’re excited, amazed, hopeful for what’s ahead. Then things don’t turn out the way we expect. Instead of reward for our sacrifices, for our good deeds, we get trials and troubles. Like the disciples, we don’t fathom the eternal significance of our decision or of our daily choices. We don’t want to wait for our rewards. We want to enjoy them now. We follow Him in amazement at first, then as the road gets steeper and we begin to understand the real cost of following Jesus, the fear sets in.

The remedy for fear is to do what Jesus did: Focus on the Father. Like Corrie ten Boom said: “Never be afraid to trust the unknown future to a known God.”

Never let the amazement of following You dwindle, O Lord. Keep my face set to Jerusalem. Amen.

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

I Still Believe

Image by christels from Pixabay

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I trust.” –Psalm 91:2 NKJV

 One of our favorite movies is Beautiful Dreamer, the story of a World War II pilot who was shot down and captured by the enemy. He’d just married his childhood sweetheart when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and catapulted the US into the war. Patriotism exploded throughout the country, and Joe enlisted. Every morning as his company of pilots prepared for the day, they recited Psalm 91 as a group.

That was the first time I really took more than a passing interest in this psalm. Since then, I’ve read it over and over, in different Bible translations. I even attempted to memorize it, repeating several verses at night as I lay in bed so it would be the last thing on my mind before I fell asleep. A lady I know recites it every morning.

In these uncertain times, with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading like wildfire and a roller coaster economy wreaking havoc around the globe, fear seems to be knocking on every door. I’m not going to tell you not to be afraid. None of us has ever experienced anything like this.

We have much to be concerned about, but we don’t have to let fear control us. As Paul wrote Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

I still believe in an omniscient, sovereign God. He’s not lost control. I believe He is working through this crisis to draw people closer to Him, to open their eyes and hearts. I pray that many will come to saving faith and a deeper faith.

I still trust Him to provide for me. I’m not afraid I won’t have enough because His Word says that God will supply everything I need – and not sparingly but generously, “according to His riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19). I don’t have to stockpile for fear I won’t have what I need when I need it. Jesus told us to put God first and strive for the attitude and character of God and “all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). What things? Food, clothing, and, yes, even toilet paper.

I believe each day’s need will be met when it’s needed. Remember the Hebrews and the manna? God gave them just enough for each day, no more, no less. This same God will provide my daily bread.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow,” Jesus commands us, “for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Read Matthew 6:25–34.)

In these uncertain times, how can we keep fear at bay?

Put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–18). Take up the shield of faith (see Psalm 3:3) and wield sword of the Spirit (the Word of God and prayer).

Trust Him. “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” (Corrie ten Boom)

Use this sequestered time as a spiritual retreat. Read, meditate on, and study God’s Word. Read through the Psalms. Conduct a word study using a concordance. Start with the word trust and list verses that refer to trust. Write them out and read them frequently.

Or do a verse study, taking one verse apart. What does it say? What does it mean? What is God saying to you? How can you apply this to your life?

Keep a promise journal and list all the promises of God that you come across in your Bible reading and study.

Pray. Unceasingly. When you wake up through the night, banish worry with prayer. Prayer isn’t just a religious activity. It’s a relationship. (Henry Blackaby)

And finally, “never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” (Corrie ten Boom)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1)

Under Your wings, Lord, I find refuge from the fear that stalks my door. Thank you for being my shelter in this time of storm. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 91.

(c) 2020 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.