DOING THE DIFFICULT: FACE YOUR FEARS

Some people love challenges. They’ll look at something new. Something hard. And they’ll take up the challenge of doing it just to get the satisfaction or thrill of knowing they can do something they’ve never done before. Something hard. Challenging. Exhilirating.

Just so you know, I am not that way at all. I am 1,000,000,000,000% a comfort-zone type of guy. I like doing the doable. That means it’s easy and doesn’t demand a whole lot of  my time, effort, or thinking. When it comes to what’s new, difficult, or challenging, you can generally count me out, folks. I’m not touching it with a ten-foot pole! 

I won’t do the difficult—not unless I’m forced to—because life already has too many difficulties and challenges. I don’t need to  add to them. I don’t need any more trials or challenges!  I’m heading into my golden years and I love to relax, take it easy, and do what I love doing most. Can you guess what that is? It’s studying  the Bible and writing. I just love spending time with the Lord because He talks to me a lot of times—not audibly, but in my spirit—and He tells me lots of really neat stuff. Stuff that I’ve just got to share with you. This blog is a perfect example of the stuff God gives me when I spend time with Him. I love Him. I love what I’m doing. But I dread doing the difficult.

Here’s a question for you. When the Lord asks you to do something difficult…no, strike that. When the Lord tells you to do something difficult, something you really don’t want to do, something you think is impossible, something that’s a Are you out of your mind? I can’t do that! type of thing; what do you do?

Just so you know, you’re not the only one who’s had to do something really really hard. You’re not alone. We’ve all been there and done that. The biblical characters weren’t any different from us. In fact, they were exactly like us. Human. I’d like to draw on their life’s experiences and, from beyond the grave, as it were, let them share with us what we’ve got to do when the Lord gives us our Mission I M possible. By God’s grace, we can do what God’s counting on us to do! Here’s how.

FACE YOUR FEARS AND CONQUER THEM

Most of us are familiar with the story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob was a supplanter (Genesis 27:36). He was crafty and cunning. A cheat. And definitely deceptive. He got Esau to sell him his birthright for a bowl of pottage (Genesis 25:29-34). Then he tricked his dad into giving him the blessing of the firstborn that was meant for Esau (Genesis 27). The guy definitely had a knack for ripping his brother off! Esau was so incensed by his brother’s trickery that he determined to kill him. That’s when Jacob fled to Haran where his mother was from.

Fast forward about forty years. Jacob has amassed a humongous family with humongous flocks of sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, and oxen, with gobs of maids and servants to boot.  Jacob, you could say, had it all. Except home. He was missing home.  

One day, the Lord spoke to Jacob. It’s time to head back home (Genesis 31:3). Jacob couldn’t have been more relieved! He’d been wanting to leave Haran for years. Now, with God’s permission and blessings, Jacob could finally leave.

Of course, the down side of going home was Jacob would eventually have to face the wrath of his brother.  Had Esau cooled off by now? Or was he still intent on killing Jacob? Sure, Jacob was going home. But the joy of going home carried with it the very real likelihood that he was going home for his own funeral. Jacob was plump scared—not only for his own life, but for the lives of his wives and children. He was one very, very scared fellow!

So what do you do when you’re faced with a difficult, impossible task and you’re plump scared to do it? I mean, your life’s at stake. You could die doing it. Is it worth doing something that’s gonna end up killing you? Is God really the One who’s talking to you? Or is the devil leading you into a death trap? A thousand doubts and questions race through your mind. And your fear looms ever larger, ever stronger, beckoning you to back off.

God spoke to Jacob. There was no way Jacob could doubt that. He had to obey God! So, first things first, he packed up his stuff, got his flocks and family together, and headed out of Haran. The lesson? WHEN GOD TELLS YOU TO DO SOMETHING THAT YOU’RE PLUMP SCARED TO DO, START DOING IT ONE STEP AT A TIME.  God will help you. You’ll still have your fears. Jacob left Haran a scaredy-cat. He didn’t wait for fear to go before he obeyed God. He headed home still wracked with fear. But he still headed home! Friends, when God tells you to do something that you’re scared to do, start doing it!

Next, don’t ignore your fears. Face them. Deal with them. Get God to help you overcome them.

Let me backtrack momentarily and tell you something that I forgot to tell you earlier. When God told Jacob to head home He also assured Jacob that He would go with him (Genesis 31:3). God would make the journey with Jacob. And, when it came time for Jacob to meet up with Esau, God would be with him. But notice that even with God’s word and assurance, Jacob was still scared! It’s like God’s Word doesn’t do anything to allay or rid us of our fears. So what do we do when we’re scared? Like Jacob, we keep walking home.

Jacob comes to a place where he sees an encampment of angels (Genesis 32:1-2). He’s not imagining anything. He sees the angels with his own eyes! That’s God’s way of assuring him that everything’s gonna be alright. The angels are watching out for him! Is Jacob scared now? Amazingly, like so many of us, he’s still scared! But he doesn’t turn back! He keeps heading home.

Brethren, when you’re wracked with fear, keep on obeying God. Sometimes, His words and His angels—the signs He gives us—aren’t doing the trick. If you’re still scared, don’t count yourself down and out. Jacob had every reason not to fear. But he was still afraid! He was, in every way, just like you and me!

Getting closer to home, Jacob decides to do a smart thing and send a delegation ahead of him to let Esau know that he was coming (Genesis 32:4-6). The tip-off doesn’t go over too good. Esau heads out with four-hundred of his men to meet up with Jacob. It looks like the makings of war. Now Jacob was really, really, really scared!

He decides to try and pacify his brother’s wrath. He sends Esau three separate droves of flocks—over 550 animals—that he hopes will soften  Esau’s heart and avert bloodshed (Genesis 32:13-20).

He spends the night alone and ends up wrestling with an angel (Genesis 32:24-30). Now you would think that an angel would’ve had Jacob pinned down within two seconds of the first round. But Jacob’s filled with fear and adrenaline: he’s so afraid of Esau that he’s intent on getting a blessing from God. What’s really amazing beyond belief is Jacob wins the match! He fought, as it were, with God. And won!

Now if you fought with an angel and won, you would think that any fear you had would just evaporate into thin air. You’d be so pumped that, in vanquishing an angel you would’ve vanquished your fear. But even after beating God, Jacob is still scared! Like Jacob, there are times when it seems like some fears just can’t be conquered no matter what!

Do you know what Jacob does? Even though he’s scared out of his wits, he continues walking towards his fear! Friends, you can’t shirk or run from your fears! You’ve got to face them. And when it comes time to stand face to face with your fear, trust your life and well-being into God’s hands. GOD GAVE YOU A PROMISE OF HIS PRESENCE AND PROTECTION. AND HE’LL MAKE GOOD ON THAT PROMISE NO MATTER HOW AFRAID YOU ARE AND NO MATTER HOW BAD IT LOOKS FOR YOU. YOU’VE JUST GOT TO TRUST GOD, FACE YOUR FARS, AND NOT RUN!

You know how the story ends. Jacob didn’t know how it would end exactly. But to his  welcome relief, Esau came running up to him, hugged him, and kissed him. There they stood, for the longest time, in each other’s arms, crying. The hurts of the past were healed and forgiven.

Jacob did the hardest thing he’d ever done. He faced his fear. And even though his fear never left him—it stayed with him right up the very end; God was with Jacob, He did a work of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation in Esau’s heart; and this manifest work and miracle of God put an end to Jacob’s fear.

So what do you do when God tells you to do something that’s very very hard for you to do? DON’T LET FEAR STOP YOU FROM OBEYING GOD. Face your fear. Obey God. And  when you’re tempted to run or turn back, listen to Jacob: YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU’RE AFRAID TO DO! GOD WILL NEVER TELL YOU TO DO SOMETHING YOU CAN’T DO! God will help you! But He’ll help you only while you’re obeying Him. Believe it or not, you’ll eventually quit being afraid. The fear will leave you. But only when you successfully complete your Mission I M possible.

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