Proverbs 29:25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
We fear many things, to varying degrees and with different results. Fear itself is a defense mechanism to keep us from danger, and like all of God’s creation is originally good. However, like much of creation it is often distorted, leading to harm rather than benefit. We are all familiar with stories of people paralyzed by fear, and there’s a good chance we’ve experienced it ourselves. Most of the time paralysis is too strong a word, but countless people are kept by fear from exercising their full potential, and most of that is fear of man. When we hear the phrase, fear of man, we usually think in terms of being afraid of other people and what they will think, say, or do, but I would include fear of yourself in this as well: fear I won’t measure up, that I will do something stupid, that I will fail in any number of ways. The answer to all of that is trusting God. The Japanese word for “confidence” is made up of two characters that individually mean “self” and “belief.” When I teach the word, “confidence,” in my classes in Medical English I tell my students I don’t like the Japanese term, because I know from experience that I will fail myself at some point down the line. However, I say that I have assurance, because instead of believing in myself, I believe God, and He will never let me down.
I wish that my bold words to my students were more consistently accurate! I still have times of looking to/at people and being anxious, rather than keeping my focus on God and being at peace. Various things came together in my mind just this morning, keeping me from going back to sleep after a run to the restroom, to the point that I gave up and got up around 4. That’s not trusting God fully! I know from experience that fearing anything other than God brings loss, of peace, sleep, or any of a number of other things. I still need work in making that knowledge operative all the time in my life. The interesting thing is, the more I exercise the faith I do have (instead of bemoaning the faith I don’t have) the better I can trust God to supply all the faith I will need for whatever circumstances come my way. This is not being irresponsible or passive; I am to be faithful and diligent. However, it is refusing to be anxious, and it seems like most of the people in the Bible, from Jesus on down, exhort me to do just that.
Father, You know the issues that kept me awake this morning. Help me know and fulfill my part in each of those situations but not try to carry the load myself. Help me rather wait expectantly on You so that You may replace my strength, my wisdom, with yours, (Isaiah 40:31) so that Your will may be done in and through me, on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!