What I value most…
Anyone who knows me knows that I have very limited topics of conversation. They normally consist of: 1) My daughter and how cute and lovely she is, and 2) my wife and how kind and amazing she is. I value few things in life particularly highly, but my wife and child (and impending child) are certainly top of the list.
When I had to take my daughter to the emergency department this week, and then later for minor surgery, you might be able to imagine how I felt. In spite of my sadness and stress, I found that my reliance on God was much stronger.
I imagine that this is the case for many people: it is only when what you value the most is threatened do you truly rely on God.
Sometimes it is good to be scared
God says in Isaiah chapter 41, verse 10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Fear is not something that is inherent in my nature. I am a fairly calm and stable person and strive to live a relatively simple life. I have learned not to care about what others think of me. As such, being scared is a rare occurrence for me, and I believe it sometimes leads me into being complacent and not needing to rely on God.
For a long time I felt I was self-reliant and didn’t have anything to lose. When my daughter had her accident, I realised how easily danger can come to those we love and sometimes that means as a parent, I have to accept that some things are not in my control.
Despite what some Christians may perceive or believe, God doesn’t remove fear from our lives. God uses this fear to allow us to rely on Him in love. Our salvation does not mean we are free from pain, suffering, loss or fear. It guarantees that through it all, God is with us each and every step of the way.
Whilst we shouldn’t doubt our own salvation in Christ, which is guaranteed, we should be afraid for our loved ones. I view evangelism as an expression of fear that others aren’t/won’t be saved. If fear prompts you to save one soul, then it is worthwhile.
For me, fear for my daughter’s safety highlighted that I haven’t been afraid. Because of this I haven’t relied on God, or actively sought him very often. But now I have, because I am afraid of what can happen to my family.
Types of fear
There are many types of fear expressed in the Bible ranging from the fear of God’s wrath, or the fear that Jesus experienced in the garden of Gethsemane. What we find throughout the Bible is that sometimes God uses fear to motivate us, and bring us to him.
It is in desperation that we pray to him and seek his protection. It is in fear we realise our inadequacy and need for forgiveness. However, sometimes God wants us to sacrifice our fear.
Whilst fear may motivate us to be closer to God, we shouldn’t let it enslave us. When we recognise the fear that we are feeling does not bring us closer to God, we should sacrifice it.
This is demonstrated in the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis chapter 22. Here God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac on an altar. It is only at the last minute that God prevents Abraham from sacrificing his son. It was because of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his fear that God blessed him, and many generations to come.
Ultimately God will fulfil his promises to us, protect us, and love us despite our fears and failings.
Nathanael Yates is a Neuroscience Researcher from Perth, Western Australia. He is constantly inspired by his astonishingly wise and beautiful wife and his adorable daughter.
Nathanael Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/nathanael-yates.html