There’s an old story about four women who found themselves on the third floor of a burning building. Of course, they were practically paralyzed with fear, but afraid of being trapped in the elevator, they ran to the stairs and began their descent to safety. The stairwell was dark and filling quickly with smoke. It was truly terrifying for them but the women hung together as they descended. Suddenly, not quite halfway down, one of the women panicked and wouldn’t move another step. “I’m too afraid!” she declared. To which the leader in front firmly replied, “Then just do it afraid!”
Fear can indeed be paralyzing and we have a lot of fear moving around our communities and our nation these days. Fear of higher taxes, fear of government overreach, fear of a virus, fear of lawlessness coming to a neighborhood near you, fear of our children not being properly educated, fear the economy can’t handle all the giveaways, etc. etc. The huge complication with fear is that it absolutely immobilizes people — they become afraid to go anywhere, challenge the powers that be, stand up for truth, or even speak their own opinions – right or wrong.
Obviously fear, in this particular mode, is not our friend. And interestingly, the phrases “fear not” and “be not afraid” are mentioned 103 times in the Bible, and for good reason. One of our greatest models follows the death of Moses when Joshua takes charge of the Hebrew nation. The Lord actually commanded Joshua to “be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” That is so encouraging to know – no matter how bad things get, we are commanded to move forward without fear, with courage, knowing God is always with us! So we can do this!!
Dr. Ben Carson in 2015 wrote this: “The Founding Fathers never meant for people of religious convictions to be drummed out of public discourse or fearful of operating in the public square. In fact, our Founding Fathers intended the exact opposite. In grammar school, young Americans learn that this experiment in democracy succeeded because at its core citizens have the right to practice their religion without fear or restraint.” It’s important to know our Founding Fathers meant for all citizens to experience and exercise freedoms that were originally not theirs in other countries. But unless we step up and contend for our freedoms, they will be lost – no doubt about it. I believe the time has come for everybody who is truly a God-fearing person to engage in some kind of pro-freedom activity against those who are currently being used to crush our religious freedoms! Someone once said that the Lord gave us two ends, one for sitting and one for thinking. Your success depends upon which you use. Heads you win; tails you lose. Bottom line: think of something you can do to challenge oppression and release people into their God-given purposes.
When Elijah told the widow at Zarephath to round up as many containers as she could and God would fill them all with precious oil, she realized that the condition of the jars, pails, or pots was not important. God put oil in every single one of them. We are certainly not perfect containers, but nevertheless, God wants to fill each one of His Christ-followers with destiny and purpose, so there is no valid excuse for staying out of this fight!
Everyone has heard the term “Mayday” – an international recognized distress signal. It actually comes from the French word ‘M’aidez’ meaning ‘help me.’ Our churches and religious liberties are in a Mayday condition. There was a time when American Christians could exist easily, content in their apathy – it seemed harmless enough – but not anymore. Today, non-involvement is a sure recipe for religious takedown and disaster. Just take a look at what is happening to churches in Canada – shutdowns, threats, and jailing of pastors, and churches in America are experiencing similar difficulties with our freedoms still being challenged.
We can’t afford to give in, give up, or give away our God-given freedoms! As Benjamin Franklin said: “Those that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Susan Beckett • Contributor
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