Sunday, January 15, 2012

Most of the Things You Worry About Never Happen...But if They Do:

Acts 7:54-60
54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. 

What are your greatest fears?  

What are the things that keep you up at night...just worrying?  Worry: the act of thinking negatively about things (that might I add...may never happen...). 

If you're anything like me, it's easy to let your brain get carried away and your mind wander.  All of the things that could happen, that might happen, that should happen.  What if they do?  What would I do?  How would I survive?

And so we busy ourselves with the worries of our world...

This passage in Acts was a so refreshing for me to read and discuss yesterday in our bible study small group.  I know it's usually focused on the martyrdom of a man, who gave it all for Jesus...but for me, I saw it in a totally different light.

I saw a man who faced one of the greatest fears ever known to man...the fear of death.  A man who may have had a wife and children, family and friends...who suddenly found himself facing the painful sting of death...reaching the moment where life as he knew it would come to an end.

Sometimes I fear death.  It's all around us.  Grandparents dying of old age...parents becoming ill...tragedies of wives, husbands, and children...sometimes it makes me fear death too.

But more than that...I fear other things.  Smaller than death.  Illness...loneliness...depression.  Pain...betrayal...conflict.  The list goes on and on. There are so many things to fear if we are looking for them.  One reason I love this passage so much is because to me, it's a model of how we should face our greatest fears.

It's the story of a man who had to face his greatest fears...and the story of a God who wouldn't let him face those fears alone.

It's a story of the man who did not have the strength to look death in the eye...and the story of a God who became His strength.

You see, in the worst moment of this man's life- God showed up.  At the most horrific second...Jesus was right there.  He blinded Stephen's vision from the terrors of this world until all that he could see was the glory of God. In the worst moment...He became his vision.  He became all that he could see.

I am filled with hope as I walk through this life that God will give me what I need...when I need it.  Sometimes I allow myself to worry, and think "I don't have the strength..." rather, I should be thankful that I don't have the strength...because I don't need it!

You see, God doesn't give you the strength to face your fears...until the moment you have to face them. He doesn't give you the ability to handle your worries...but He gives you the wisdom to hand your worries to Him.  

"Even though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me..."

Be assured, as you look ahead at the fires of life...and know that as you walk through the will never be alone.  

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