COVID-19 has me in my bible like it’s nobody’s business! I’ve always wished for more time but could never find it. Either I was caught up with work, family, or other obligations that I could never do what I actually wanted to do. So while COVID-19 has signified many things to many different people, for me, it has represented peace; peace to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do them. This is how I found myself in the word; literally tearing it a part after such a long season of secretly wishing I had more time. What are you secretly wishing you could do? And how can you begin to steward that desire? For me, I currently find myself digging for jewels…and the more I dig, the more I want.
Precept Ministries has been such a blessing to me because it has taught me to study the word of God for myself. I didn’t realize you actually don’t need a Theological degree to read, study and understand the word of God. Even though I greatly value education- a theological degree at that, it should not have been an excuse for me to run away from studying the bible. Rather, it should have compelled me to dig even more! To this day I am stunned and feeling slightly guilty for not engaging with the scriptures in the way God has called me to.
In my digging, I found God speaking to me, probing me to start a bible class. As always, I was giving Him some kind of excuse like; ” Yes, I think that’s a great idea God, just after a few more studies- that way I feel more knowledgeable.” How ironic that after studying the book of Judges, which heavily focuses on idolatry, that I find myself holding onto knowledge as a crutch, needing it to stand on, holding onto knowledge as if it were my idol! This classic excuse had me thinking, ‘what am I really afraid of? What is holding me back? Why is this thing that God is urging me to do causing so much discomfort? Why am I scared?’
Why are we afraid?
It’s such a loaded question. What is it about fear that jolts us back? What is it about fear that paralyzes us; keeps us stuck; inhibits us from moving forward?
Just as the disciples were asked, I ask you: Do you know who God is?
Take a moment to reflect on your life. Who do you know God to be or Who has He personally proven Himself to be? In your answer, is that specific characteristic not greater than what you fear?
For the disciples on the boat in Mark 4, they had seen Jesus preform miracles before. They saw Him heal the sick, and feed thousands with two loaves and three fish; but on this boat, they were introduced to the God of Creation. This was a God they had not known. And it caused them to be terribly afraid! More afraid of the storm itself.
When fear arises, we should be asking, ‘what is this fear indicating? And what is it rooted in?’Tweet
For the disciples, this fear indicated that they weren’t prepared to see such a display of force. In verse 40 of Mark 4, when Jesus asks them, ‘why are you afraid?’, that word afraid points to a cowardly disposition, but the word afraid in verse 41 points to a standard that had exceeded their expectations because of how large or how great it was. In other words, when Jesus told the wind and sea to hush, and it obeyed; that force displayed was so large or great that it far exceeded their expectations. It’s that Jesus and that level of authority, they did not recognize! Their original fear was rooted in unbelief; but the fear that followed was provoked by a recognition of God’s deity. When Jesus calmed the storm, it blew the disciples out of the water. It far exceeded their expectations of what they knew Jesus could do. Out of this awe, came the fear of God.
What are you so afraid of? Must it not bow to the authority and deity of God? I had to ask myself these hard questions.
Often times, fear is symptomatic of our trust in something or someone outside of God.@msmochambers
I was afraid because in my leading of a study, it would reveal that I’m not as knowledgeable in the word as I’d like to be. I was afraid of being asked a question and not being able to answer it. I was afraid that I didn’t know enough cross-references, enough bible stories and enough theological principles to lead women towards God. I was afraid of simply not knowing enough.
But if I was to be really honest, my fear was showing that I trusted and valued the opinions of people more than I trusted God.
Once I got a hold of that revelation, I then asked, ‘must the opinions of people not bow to the authority and deity of God?’ The answer is yes. So then why wouldn’t I put my complete trust in Him?
The following week, I signed up to be a bible study leader. I posted on Instagram my upcoming class and the time and I began to prepare for my first online study on fear.
Here’s what I didn’t know.
I didn’t know how impacting my yes would be. The women that joined all shared how much they enjoyed studying together and how they appreciated that I chose to lead this class. What they didn’t know, was that my yes almost became a no. And because I chose to walk in obedience to the nudge in my heart, I latter learned that one of the ladies’ husbands, who struggled with alcohol, drugs and a gambling addiction would hang around and listen in; insisting that she would turn up the volume because he wanted to hear what we’d be sharing together as a group. He would never otherwise show up in a bible study class in a church building, but to hide in a corner while his wife participated in a study online, that he could do! Needless to say, he was disappointed that our 7-week study had come to an end.
How amazing that God would use the yes of an insecure woman to plant seeds of the word of God into the lukewarm heart of a husband! Could you imagine what He do if you simply decided to confront your fears and walk in obedience to Him? I dare you to give it a try!