I'm Struggling, Lord

Day 7 of 10 • This day’s reading

I’m afraid

Sometimes it’s good to be afraid. Small children should be afraid of the danger of traffic on a busy city street. Carpenters should fear to be careless around the whining blade of their table saw. All Christians should be afraid to defy God, blow off his commandments, ignore his holy will, and thus incur his wrath.

President Franklin Roosevelt respected what a spirit of fear could do to sap a nation of its self-confidence and will. In his first inaugural address, in the pit of the Great Depression in 1932, he said that “the only thing we have to fear is . . . fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Ministries and congregations sometimes attempt too little because they fear too much. Individual Christians never develop their ability to witness for their Savior because they are afraid of making a mistake. Laypeople fear being criticized for incorrect teaching, so they leave the “religious talk” to the clergy.

Satan wants to keep us afraid, weak, and disengaged from the world, huddled into our little cave-sanctuaries. Here is St. Paul’s stirring call: “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Call on that power! Be all God has made you and called you to be! Speak! Love! Serve! No fear!