The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.
Fear of the Unknown
I know I’m not the only one who has a fear of the unknown. How hard it is to move to a new city, start a new job, join a new church, and go where you have never gone before, but God frequently asks us to step out of our comfort zone and step out in faith. This might mean stepping out into territory that’s uncharted for us. I was doing some street evangelism once and must admit it is a very fearful thing to do. I had a friend who went along with me and encouraged me, and we both went up to a group of men at an outdoor community event. I started telling them about what happens to people if they step out of this life without Christ. One by one they began to leave, but, even worse, my friend was stepping away, too. There I was, by myself. My friend had backed away. I was sweating, my heart was pounding, and my voice was trembling, yet I stayed and finished what I had to say until there was only one man left, who stayed and heard the gospel. I don’t know whatever became of the man, but that’s not up to me because God will send His Spirit to convert him if that’s His will. All I tried to do was be a faithful witness. But my fear has frequently blocked my view of people in need, for example, their need for Christ in order to be saved (Acts 4:12). What about you?
Fear of the Known
Our church started a nursing home ministry not long ago. When I started it, many showed up on that first night, but the very next week, there was no one. I had to go it alone. I didn’t know anyone, and no one knew me. Everyone looked at me like “Who is that?!” Visiting and ministering to the elderly is not easy. Sometimes they are very incapable of even speaking or hard of hearing, they speak so softly they can hardly be heard, they have to be fed, and some have to be changed, but these precious people are made in the image of God. God wants us to practice pure religion, and the way God sees it as pure and undefiled religion is keeping ourselves pure in an evil world but also visiting the orphans and widows (James 1:27). How many in nursing homes are orphans? How about nearly 100% of them. How many are widows or widowers? Again, a very high number of them. So what’s the difference between visiting the orphans and widows and visiting those in a nursing home? Not much difference at all.
Doing for the Least of These
Again, most pastors I talk to don’t want to get involved with a prison ministry as our church did. That’s sad because many of these men and women have absolutely no one to talk to or no one who writes them. So we support a prison ministry, and we also write prisoners and visit them when we are allowed. Our natural fear of the unknown keeps many from even cracking the door open to this ministry, but God has shown me, since I also was a prisoner at one time, that this is what Jesus would have us do: visit the sick and those in prison (Matt. 25:31-39). When we visit the elderly, the sick, and those in prison, we have actually done it to Christ (Matt. 25:40). Don’t let fear block your view of an opportunity to be the voice, hands, and feet of Christ. That’s why the church is called the Body of Christ–we’re to do what He would do if He was still here on earth.
A Closing Prayer
God, give me the courage to face the unknown and serve in the hard places that few dare to go and the ability to see people in need, not people in circumstances, and to be doing what Your Son would be doing if still here on earth. For His glory and in His name I pray.
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