“I’m very brave generally, only today I happen to have a headache.” (Tweedledum, Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.)
I can totally relate, can you?!
We’ve been talking about walking through those open doors God places in front of us, haven’t we?! But sometimes we fear what is on the other side of that door. Maybe it looks a little darker or scarier than we thought it would. Maybe the task all of a sudden feels a little too big or even dangerous. What then? What do we do when we know it’s a God Opened Door, but the anxiety in our own heart is keeping us from walking through it and therefore, preventing us from getting where God wants us to be?
The cure for the anxiety we feel at the threshold of God Opened Doors is found in this:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…1 John 4:18, NIV.
Let me say it another way – the cure for anxiety is being in the presence of God – and God’s presence lives in us!
We will find ourselves, at times, staring at the door, realizing we need to walk through it, but for any number of reasons, not exactly jumping for joy to walk through it. It’s interesting to me, too, that when you see some of these BIG OPEN DOOR opportunities being presented to people in scripture, even THEY aren’t too keen to take the leap! (…Abraham, Moses, Esther, Mary, and even Jonah?!)
Jonah’s story is sort of an odd one, really. God asks Jonah to leave the comfort of his home and friendly town and head out on a mission to the town of Nineveh to teach about repentance.
Jonah is none too keen to make this journey. Nineveh and her citizens aren’t exactly known for their good-natured hospitality, especially not to those who aren’t her own. Not only does Jonah not LIKE them, he’s a little afraid of them, too.
So instead of following God’s call, Jonah runs away and in the process, takes refuge on a ship, gets thrown overboard, swallowed up by a whale, where he spends three days in its belly before being sort of deposited on dry land where he finally does God’s biding in Nineveh and 120,000 Ninevites actually repent.
Other than the “ewww” factor, I think the big lesson we can learn from this story is that Jonah could’ve saved himself a lot of anxiety and trouble, not to mention physical hardships, if he had trusted that God had a plan…and a good one. Because regardless of what circumstance Jonah found himself, no matter how many times he ran in the other direction, God always provided for him, and eventually brought him out the other side.
Whenever I get stuck in that spot of paralyzing fear or maybe simple resentment of where the door is leading me, I always come back to 1 John 4:18 – perfect love (GOD) casts out all fear. And if I’m walking with God, fear must flee.
Making Godly wise, Best Yes (and NO!) decisions requires us to be strong and courageous. And by keeping close to God, adding to our arsenal of Godly wisdom through scripture, prayer, and wise counsel, we are better able to confidently make those decisions – not because of who WE are and what WE, but because of our convictions of knowing who GOD is and what HE can do.
Are you following along with us in our GracePace Series this spring? If so, here’s what you need to do this week!
1. Read Chapters 10-12 in your The Best Book!
2. Complete Session 4 in the study guide!
3. Write out a proverb or two on your chalk board (there are listed at the end of Session 4 in your study guide).
4. Watch this video about accepting and asking for HELP – based on the parable of the Good Samaritan – from our GracePace series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1qJd0OwRbA
5. Enjoy a listen or two of our song of the week from Steven Curtis Chapman, “Take Another Step”. Yeah. I needed this one today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E0F2s_3I78
We’re off for a week of “vacation”, sweet friends! We’ll be back in two weeks with a little blog about the beauty of Jesus, right before Easter. Have a great week!