Friday, October 2, 2009

On Fear, From 40,000 Feet Up

Emotion, that is, how I "feel" from moment to moment, is not a good guide for where a life should go. Take the disciples. They truly loved Jesus, or so it seemed. They certainly "felt good" about Him. They listened to His Words, experienced His power, became for three years attached to Him. So when Jesus talked of dying they truly believed they were ready to die with Him. That is, they felt they were ready. We often mix those words believe and "feel" as though they were the same. We have probably, similar to the disciples, convinced ourselves that we are in a totally bonded relationship with Christ, and that anything He wants we will do. But are we listening to what He wants?

Yes, the disciples were so overcome by how they felt that they all claimed they'd die for Jesus... even in opposition to Jesus' clear statement to the contrary. "No, you won't. You'll deny you even know me."

Hear Peter's self-assurance, a trait many of us will recognize as self-deception: "Yes, those other guys, they're weaklings. I suspected it all along. But there's a reason you've favored me with leadership of this bunch. Even if they all leave you, I will not!"

No Peter, back off. Sit down. This won't work until Pentecost. Then you will have your fill of suffering for Jesus. But you're not ready now. Yes, Peter, there'll come a time when they will take you to places you do not want to go. You'll be forced to stretch out your hands as your Master did, and die His death. But you're not ready now. Wait for the Spirit to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.

I often believe, or is it feel, that the Christ in the church of North Korea has called me to itself somehow. I have said to the Lord that I will go. But I have not gone. I have stayed and done what it is possible to do from this side of the world. Now, only the Spirit ordains times and seasons, but is it because of my utter lack of self-awareness that His time is not now?

The writer of Proverb 28 says that "the wicked flee when no one pursues." So much of our fear to do His will is nonsensical. In the full light of Heaven, it is all nonsensical. If we have been promised that we can never be separated from the love of Christ, why do we hesitate to do anything He asks? "The righteous," that same wise one goes on, "are as bold as a lion." Righteousness, right relatedness to Christ is what gives boldness. There truly is "no fear in love" says John. "Perfect love casts out fear."

So love and righteousness knock fear down. Faith too, in the promise: "I will never leave you or forsake you." This promise was given to Israel and Joshua but the writer of Hebrews says it is ours. We can laugh at fear from now on...

...said he, glibly. Easy for me to laugh at your fear, criticize your stubbornness to get on with God's program for your life. Oh how I need to deal with my own:

For example, I write all this from an airplane, many thousands of feet in the air. Not too exceptional, you say. Except for the fact that for years I feared the very thought of entering an airplane. A bad experience on a night flight years ago made me earth-bound until recently. But if I am being called to be a part of the team that will give the Good News to North Korea, if I am to relate to a people who must live in fear every day of their lives, and in hunger and want, surely facing this mostly irrational fear is something that has to be done. God is gracious. In His time He will finish the work He has begun in me.

My point today is that so often our emotions do not match up with the realities of our nature. In another but related context Paul says, "What I want to do, I do not do..." We often dream beyond our reach. But of course, never beyond His. We want things that we cannot obtain by any fleshly means, but if they are His wants, they will be obtained by His means.

Oh for more of Him! Oh to know His will, and not to flinch when he says, "It's time."

Look for Bob Faulkner's home page on There you will find a combination of love for the Scriptures and a desire for North Korean believers to have their needs met. There are nearly 300 blogs , ovber 200 Bible teaching MP3's, lists of resources, NK picture albums, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together! Contact me any time at

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Would love to fellowship with believers who respond .

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