Faith, Fear, Trusting God

Promise: When We Fear

pine needle path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Last week I shared about promises delayed. I’m reading in Exodus, and I’ve never noticed before how much we can learn from the Israelites’ journey from captivity to the Promised Land.

Receiving the promises God’s given us often comes step by step on a journey. His promises fulfilled is more about the process than the result. Sure, the result—the promise in our hands—is often pretty amazing. But the process that got us to that point? That’s where the real joy, growth, and deepening occurs.

Zion narrow trail

There are times when the Lord lets us face obstacles on this journey. And, there are times when He chooses to bring us around them (see Exodus 13:17). He knows which obstacles are going to make us stronger and which ones are going to tumble us to the ground.

Our God knows us so well. When we face hard situations, our first instinct is usually to retreat to a safe place. For the Israelites, that would have been back to slavery. But hey, at least they weren’t being pursued, right?

Nah. They were only beaten, made to complete unrealistic demands, and given no freedoms whatsoever.

Rainy day road

Sometimes, when we venture out into a new place in our lives, we take baby steps. We feel so big as we move away from our pasts, whatever that may hold. We feel empowered, brave, bold . . . until the first hardship slams into us. Then, our confidence is stripped away and we feel small, unable to move forward one more step.

Sometimes, God knows when we need to go around the trials. He’s not just looking at our physical journey, He’s watching our heart journey as well. When He brings us into a promise, it’s for all of who we are, not just for the physical aspect of who we are. 

Yellowstone flat road

When it seems to be taking longer for us to see our promises fulfilled, it may be because God chose to bring us around a certain hard that would encourage us to turn back, rather than to embrace God’s promises. When we trust God for the timing, we can walk in peace and confidence, even when we don’t understand why things are taking longer.

Other times, God allows the hard to chase after us (see Exodus 14:9-11). When He allows this, He has a plan. It’s never an accident when we walk into or are pursued by some difficult circumstance. The question is, when we see the hard thing bearing down upon us, what are we going to do? 

Sun after fog

Our natural instinct is to doubt and blame and question. “Why did I begin this journey anyway? Nothing is really going to change. Who am I to think I’m worthy of God’s love?” Examples of fear overruling trust.

Doubt, blame, questioning—these are all motivated by fear. When fear motivates us, we are not trusting God. When fear rules our responses, the trials look so much bigger than we are.

Fear what we see copy

We can only hold one of these in our hearts at a time. We will either fear the circumstances, the limited amount that we know, or we will cling to God in trust. We can’t do both. The good thing is, we get to choose our response. Will we fear what we see, or will we trust the One Who sees everything?

Autumn Leafy Pathway

We must remember that there is ONE who is bigger than any fear, any circumstance. He is the One who holds our hands on each step of this journey to the promise God says He’ll keep.

What about you? How have you battled fear when you’re walking an unknown path with God? What’s one promise fulfilled you’ve seen God work in your life?

 

PS—I’m guest-posting over at my friend, Bethany McIlrath’s FIRST and SECOND blog. She has a special Word Works series. Please stop by!

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett and #RaRaLinkup.

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20 thoughts on “Promise: When We Fear”

  1. I don’t really think about God’s promises; they’re clearly meant for His calendar, and not the temporal calendar by which we live.

    I suppose my situation would be frightening, except that there is really no point in fear. All I can do is keep going.

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  2. “Doubt, blame, questioning” – You’re right, the root of all of these is fear. I think this is such a needed topic. I’ve seen may articles this week on it and I wrote about it too! I’m visiting today from Kelly’s #RaRaLinkup

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    1. I suspect we all battle doubt, blame and questioning, at least some of the time. This may sound bad, but I’m glad I’m not alone in dealing with fear-based behaviors. 🙂 We can always bring them to the Father who casts out fear, right? Thanks so much for stopping by, Micah!

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  3. Jeanne, I’m your neighbor at Holly’s linkup today. Your words are very mi h aligned with my readings and writing this morning for a future post! Live it when God confirms His word like this

    May I invite you to share your words at the DanceWithJesus linkup at SusanBMead.com/blog? Bless someone there with your words!

    Warmly, Susan.

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    1. Susan, isn’t it funny how God puts similar messages on so many hearts at the same time? It sounds like He’s wanting to work truth and healing into hearts. I look forward to reading the words God put on your heart about this topic.Thanks for the invitation to link up. I braved it and did it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I love how you tackle the hard! How do we handle the hard and if we read through Exodus we see many answers to this question. Bottom line is God has a reason for the difficulty and He will pull us through each time. I tend to jump to asking “why” first before I embrace whatever challenge God has placed in front of me. But dwelling in that place of questioning will never move us beyond the fears and questions. God is the one who will take our hand and show us there is so much more if we stay on the path He has put in front of us. Love your words and your heart!

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    1. Mary, yes! God has a reason for the difficulty. And He does bring us through. Each time. My initial response is to shy away from the challenges, from the hard. Then I want to just deal with it. 🙂 What I have to remember is that hard things are best dealt with guided by Jesus, not my own “brilliant” ideas. 😉 I love your visual of God taking our hands and showing us all He has for us on the path He sets us on. Walking yielded to Him is the best way through fear and obstacles.

      Thank you so much for adding to the conversation here. You always bring such great insights, Mary.

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  5. “When He brings us into a promise, it’s for all of who we are, not just for the physical aspect of who we are.” YES!! 🙂 Clinging to His promise today, knowing it matters for much! : )

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    1. Bethany, yes, sometimes we cling to the promises that He sees us and He’s working in us. This helps us walk through the challenging trials we face. Hang onto Him tightly, Bethany! 🙂

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  6. Jeanne, this is such good encouragement for me today. Goes along with what I read about Hagar and “The Living One who sees me.” I loved this: Will we fear what we see or will we trust the one who sees everything. I was struck this morning about how God knew Hagar’s future, and He knows ours as well.

    Genesis and Exodus have such powerful lessons for us. Thanks for sharing your reflections. #TestimonyTuesday

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    1. Betsy, I love Hagar’s story and how God saw her. There’s so much hope in her story. And in ours. When we remember He sees us, and He’s watching over us, this knowledge can help us walk through those hard, waiting seasons.

      I agree. Every time I read through Genesis and Exodus, God gives me new insights about Him, and living for Him. 🙂

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    1. Actions are telling, Shelli. Thank goodness for God’s mercy when we fail. Thank goodness for the second chances He offers when we yield to Him in trust. I so appreciate you!

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  7. I know I had a season of about three years that God has ended and it is now being corrected. It seems like a lot longer of a road of correction than I expected! But I trust His timing. The photos you posted are beautiful!

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    1. God’s timing is so often different from ours, isn’t it, Lynn? Thank goodness He walks with us, reassures us in all the aspects of our journeys with Him. Thanks for your kind words about my photos. And thank you so much for sharing here!

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  8. So much beautiful and important encouragement here for a fearful woman like me, Jeanne. I don’t know why I still struggle so deeply with choosing trust over fear. God has never let me down ;). I’ve been through a lot in my life but there were so many amazing lessons learned through those trials. You are so right. We can’t have fear and trust at the same time and we are always given the opportunity to choose. Thank you for that much needed reminder!

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    1. Candace, I still struggle to choose to trust God and not give in to fear, as well. Not always, but sometimes. When fear looks big, it can be hard to choose to trust. I guess that’s why we need to be in God’s word so often, because it re-orients our perspectives, huh? May we both choose to walk in trust more and more. Thanks so much for adding to the conversation here today!

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  9. When we feel called by God we step out with excitement, but that can soon turn into fear and doubt as our focus shifts from the call to the obstacles along the way. I think we are all challenged in this same way. These fears are probably beneficial in that they serve to remind us the importance of remaining dependent on God and not our own ability.

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    1. I think you’re right, Gene. We are all challenged when the obstacles come. I also like your take on this. Fears can be beneficial if they help us stay dependent on God. Such a great truth. Thank you for adding that here! I always appreciate your wise words.

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