Fears and Risks

By: Marcy Barthelette

Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. Ecclesiastes 11:4a

As this verse indicates, if we don’t act because of fear, nothing good, or even anything bad, will ever happen. Life will be uninteresting and unproductive.   

What are you afraid of? Come on, admit it, we all have fears of some sort. What about spiders…big, fuzzy, hungry-looking spiders? Or what about slimy, slithering snakes? Maybe you have a food fear, such as getting into poisonous mushrooms. And then there are clowns. There was a time when their silly antics made everyone laugh and then something changed and we developed a fear of them. Of course, many people fear flying while others don’t trust busy freeways. Let’s not forget the fear of losing all our wealth or all our friends.

Countless phobias paralyze our thoughts even if our common sense tells us there’s nothing to fear. My big fear has always been heights; I know I share that fear with countless others. It has kept me from enjoying any number of adventures throughout my lifetime. I don’t do roller coasters because those big drops do much more than take my breath away. Swinging bridges over deep gorges fascinate me but to venture onto them requires enormous courage or perhaps a moment of insanity. I absolutely love lighthouses but climbing them may or may not happen under any given set of circumstances. When we visited the Statue of Liberty many years ago, I didn’t make it into the torch because of that fear of heights and another enemy of mine, claustrophobia.

Maybe your fear involves human interaction; you’re afraid you’ll lose your job or maybe not get the job you’ve interviewed for because you don’t measure up to other applicants. Could you be afraid of losing a spouse? Or do your fears for your children’s welfare keep you from allowing them to spread their wings? Do you determine your worth by the number of social media friends or “likes” you’ve acquired?

And then, there’s the biggest fear of all…the fear of following Jesus. We’re afraid there will be too many rules, and too many roadblocks to having fun. We’re afraid we’ll be expected to speak to others about our faith and that’s a terrifying possibility. We’re certainly afraid we’re not good enough and guess what? We’re not! But He will make us better if we let Him.

There are times in life when we must take risks. I did ride a coaster once and I did climb the stairs to the top of one lighthouse. I did ride to the top of the Arch when I lived in St. Louis and I did walk halfway across the bridge at Royal Gorge. I had to take a risk in each scenario.

We take a risk every time we get behind the wheel of a car, walk across a street, climb a mountain, or jump out of an airplane (OK, that one is a bit out there). We incur enormous risks when committing our lives to another human being or creating new life. Yet, when we do so with Jesus at our side, the risk disappears and so should fear. That’s not to say that nothing will ever go wrong when we take the risk to follow Jesus, but when it does, we’ll have a companion and protector at our side throughout every journey. That’s a promise….He said so. Go ahead. Take the risk. And don’t be surprised when He asks you to do something that may seem a little scary. Just go for it. 

For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, don’t be afraid.  I am here to help you. Isaiah 41:13

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