My name is John Ashe, and I am this week’s guest blogger. I am currently a senior at Kutztown University where I am studying professional writing.
Everyone has fears. Some people are afraid of the dentist, some people are afraid of flying, some people are afraid of the dark. I too have fears. When I was younger, I had an unfortunate experience with a goose when I inadvertently got too close to her nest. For a long time I had a fear of geese, and I am still not too fond of them. Most days I enjoy driving, but sometimes driving can cause me great fear as well. I have never experienced a fear quite as acute as the kind I felt driving on the New Jersey Turnpike. It is, quite simply, an 80 m.p.h. traffic jam. Drivers seem to have little concern for the laws of the road and even less for the well-being of their fellow travelers.
Fear is a part of being human and is relative to each person’s life and perspective. But, we cannot let fear overcome us and we cannot let it define who we are and how we live our lives. We must acknowledge our fears, face them, and with God’s help rise above them.
The Bible says it best in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Note how it does not say some things or easy things, but all things. Through faith and prayer nothing is impossible for those who believe in Christ.
The Bible gives us plenty of examples of individuals, both righteous and sinful who found strength in God. Even in the most dire of circumstances, these people were able to rise up with the help of God to become admirable examples of faith and devotion. One of the most notable examples is Job, a man somewhat defined by the calamity he was struck with but primarily characterized by the faith that allowed him to carry on and receive the blessing of the Lord. Without faith, the devil would have broken Job easily. But his iron-wrought love for God provided a light in the darkness that even Satan with all his wiles couldn’t extinguish.
Even people who God chose to do great things had to face their fears. Moses was continuously plagued with self doubt. Jonah ran away from God. Peter denied Jesus three times. Jesus, the only truly righteous man to ever walk the earth, faced suffering to an extent that most of us cannot even imagine. As the Bible shows us countless times, God gave them the strength to rise above the trials of the world, to overcome their fears, and to proclaim the glory of the Lord.
The key to this strength is simple. Prayer is the only thing we need to look to when the skies turn gray and the going gets rough. Although He may not always answer our prayers in the way we hope for, God always responds to our requests for help with strength. Through God, we have the hope and grace to face any challenge.
God has thwarted armies and leveled cities, freed entire countries from slavery, and forgave the sins of every individual who is, was, and ever will be. He has healed the sick and fed the hungry. To think that any of our problems are too big for God to tackle or too small for him to care is simply incorrect. He is our father in the most literal sense, and as any good parent would, he watches over us always. To receive his aid, all we have to do is ask.
I find that, when the going gets rough, I can always look to one of my favorite Psalms to remind me that God will protect me no matter the odds.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. (Psalm 34:17-20)