January 25, 2015

Proverbs 3:25-26 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
for the Lord will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being snared.

There is a major difference between the Japanese and the English here. Where the NIV says, “the ruin that overtakes the wicked,” the Japanese says, “when the wicked come against you.” Even so, the point remains the same: don’t be afraid, because God is with you. We have a great deal to be afraid of these days. “Sudden disaster” seems all too possible! However, living in fear is never the answer. As Jesus said, in this world we will have trouble, but we are to be confident in His victory. (John 16:33) I have always liked Psalms 91:9-10. “If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the Lord, who is my refuge— then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.” The very first time I read through the NIV translation, back in the ’70s, I wrote in the margin, “Whatever happens, it isn’t disaster.” That is the perfect antidote to terrorism. The whole point of terrorism is fear, making you afraid. If you refuse to be afraid, then the terrorists have lost right there. This isn’t burying your head in the sand, it is placing confidence in God. None of us has a guarantee of tomorrow on this earth, terrorism aside, but anyone who is committed to Jesus Christ as Lord has a guarantee of eternity in heaven, and that’s better than any number of tomorrows on this earth. When our hearts are truly fixed on Christ, then even an execution date is no big deal. That’s what Paul experienced in a Roman prison when he wrote, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8) That is the faith to which we should aspire, and it is true victory.

When my father was in the hospital awaiting the surgery from which he didn’t wake up on this earth, another missionary to Japan who happened to be in Winston Salem at that point stopped in to see him. At my father’s memorial service in Japan he reported, “I never saw a man with more reason to live, or more ready to die.” I take that as a personal example and challenge. My father was just a few days past his 64th birthday at that point and I’ve already passed 66, so I consider every day a gift to be used in service to my Lord. The devil does try to attack me with assorted “what ifs,” but I am to rejoice to be available to serve my Lord through serving those around me. Anxious fear is never from God, nor pleasing to Him. I am to rejoice in my Lord, and share that joy with as many as will receive it.

Father thank You for Your truly amazing grace. Help me be a faithful conduit of that grace to those around me, never letting fear of any sort hold me back. May all of Your purposes for me be fulfilled, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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