20011-01-08 - The Secret of Living
Originally Published 1999-06-25
Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and of a good courage; fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee nor forsake thee." KJV
I was sitting at my church, waiting for my oldest son to finish talking with a counselor about some areas of his life that he wanted help with. While he was talking with the man, I went into another room and started puttering and reading over some material that I was going to be teaching children shortly. Deuteronomy 6:31 is the "key verse" so I was starting to memorize it.
While I was working to memorize that verse, my eyes wandered around the room, and chanced upon a poster entitled, "Martyrs of the Early Church".
I stood up and walked over to look closer. All 12 apostles, Paul, and some others were listed, along with how they were killed because of their faith and their refusal to stop spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ's life, death, burial and resurrection.
"Interesting!", I thought. I started thinking about how I am sometimes afraid to tell someone about Jesus because I am fearful of their reaction. Boy, what conviction I felt! Here were these men standing firm in their faith, even at risk to their lives, and here's me quivering at a harsh word or strange look. I prayed for forgiveness and courage and went and sat back down.
I started back on the verse. "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee, He will not fail thee nor forsake thee." As I was saying it over and over again, my eyes would stray back to that poster.
Wait a minute!! That doesn't make sense! God will not fail me? What about them!? Here they had spread the Gospel far and wide, and yet, GOD allowed them to be brutally murdered! That just didn't make sense!
As I pondered all of this, another verse came to my mind.
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you," KJV
Then, I realized the secret: God said that He is with me...through it all. If people are laughing at me, I can have peace because He is there with me. Even if I am facing death, He is there and will meet me face to face.
"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee nor forsake thee."
The secret isn't in the "don't be afraid" part; the secret is in the part that says God is there. And if He's there, I don't have to be afraid. Whatever the outcome, He will not fail me nor forsake me.
What a security!
Oh, Lord, I mess it up, and mess it up, and mess it up again. I see the verses and pick out the parts I want, forget that it's the whole Gospel that we are to lean on. I see little things and fear them, forgetting that You are there. I see big problems and fear them, forgetting that You are bigger. I fear people criticizing me, teasing me, mocking me, all the time forgetting that You said that this would come. Please, forgive my fear, forgive my blind eye. Teach me to stand firm on Your rock. You are my God. Thank You for grace. Thank You for salvation. Thank You for being God. I love You, Lord. Amen