Faith or Fear?

It seems like life throws things at us and if you are like me, you may not feel you do that great a job at managing the catch. Life circumstances vary from adjustments in marriage, toilet training, sending your youngest off to school to cancer in the family, a wayward teen, an aging parent, or an unworkable job situation.

Several years ago for me it was knowing that it was my son’s birthday and he was in Korea and I was in the USA. My daughter was fourteen hours away at college and I missed them both. I thought I had the “empty nest” problem all wrapped up and put on the shelf two years before.

When we are abandoned

Why do we have these circumstances in life that press in on us? They give us heavy hearts. We find ourselves in tears, upset, and impatient, often with our husband, kids or someone in our fellowship. This morning I read about a woman who had everything go wrong. Her husband betrayed her and left her without support or protection. Her name is Sarai, Abram’s wife.

To protect himself, Abram allowed Pharaoh to take her into his house under the pretense that she was his sister rather than his wife. Genesis 12:17 tells the story, making it clear that even though her husband abandoned her, God came miraculously to her rescue:

“But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.” He knew Sarai’s problem and He knows yours. God has not changed. David writes years later “…you are familiar with all my ways” Ps. 139:3

Steps of faith

In our difficult circumstances we need to take steps of Faith. The first step of Faith is to believe God knows your problem. The second step of Faith is to believe God cares about your problem.. Nahum, whose name means “compassion,” writes these words: “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.

He cares for those who trust in Him.” (Nahum 1:7) If you feel God is distant, this is not because He has moved away. Take the Faith step toward Him and acknowledge that He cares for you and your present troubles.

The third step of Faith is believing that God helps. He is your lifeline in times of distress. Sarai discovered that God was working on her behalf. He became everything to her in her time of need.

  • She was alone, God was there for her.
  • She was betrayed, God was loyal to her.
  • She was used, God became her protector and provider.

Peter gives us further commentary on Sarai’s situation: “holy women of the past put their trust in God.” (1 Peter 3:5-6) That is our example to follow, so Peter goes on to admonish us women that “…like Sarai…you are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.”

We have a choice: live by Faith or live in Fear. To live in fear is to give into what for the moment feels natural and easy, like for example, when I let my circumstances pull me down into the pit of self pity, fearing the future and dreading the present.

In Sarai’s darkest moment she chose to reject fear and live by faith. We join with her in living by faith (2 Cor 5:7) when we acknowledge that God knows, that God cares and that God will help.

Even though my empty nest is not neatly tied up and put away, I desire to stand in that long line of holy women from the past who put their trust in God. How about you?

Editorial Note: This article was first published in the November 2001 edition of Elders’ Shopnotes. It is used here with permission.

Mary Gianotti
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