Fearful or Found?
By a 18-year-old girl
Losing yourself is a terrifying thing.
Especially when you think your parents were right behind you. Especially when you are in a large empty aisle by yourself. And especially when you are all of ten years old.
It had been a fairly peaceful shopping trip, following behind my parents through the massive furniture warehouse of Ikea, running around a corner or two a bit faster than they did, or dawdling behind to look at something neat, but still staying within safe proximity. Until I waited too long. I was inspecting something (what it was I have now completely forgotten) knowing the rest of the family was turning to the next aisle. I finished, and dashed around the corner to join them, but — nothing. The aisle was empty. A quick glance assured me the one I was just in was empty as well. As was the next one forward. And the next. And the next.
Eventually I reached the check-out area, still fighting the fear rising inside me. What a sight! A frantic red-head dashing about, my blue eyes darting from face to face, trying to find one that was familiar. Close to tears, I returned back to the aisle where all my troubles had started. But, what to my wondering eyes should appear, than the cart and my family all walking quite near! Apparently, instead of continuing forward in the store, they had went back — opposite of the direction of my rushed search — to pick up something they had forgotten. And so we were reunited, my terror coming to a close after a whole eternity of two minutes.
When I was on my own, fear made each new place a dark maze. But when I was with my parents, courage made each new corner an adventure. I was with them, so I was safe.
And it’s much the same in our walk with God. After all, consider one of the most well-known courage verses in the Bible, Joshua 1:9 (KJV). Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest. Joshua had immense responsibility placed upon his shoulders. Leading a people wandering around the wilderness into battle? His job. Strategizing against some of the greatest kings in the land? On his list. Having to take down impenetrable fortresses? Check. Governing a people who over and over again proved themselves to be stubborn and pig-headed? Double check. Joshua had plenty of cause to stress out, shut down, and let fear overwhelm him. But Moses commands him not to.
Why? Because the LORD the God is with thee withersoever thou goest. Joshua could have courage because God went with him. In fact, often when the Bible tell us to be courageous, it does so because the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee. ( 1 Cor 28:20, see also Deut 31:6; 31:23) And because He is with us, He will strengthen us, He will help us, and He will uphold us with the right hand of His righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)
So when we dwell in God, trusting always in Him, we have no need to fear what this next corner might bring. We may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Heb 13:6) Regardless of how many empty aisles you go down, regardless of how many unfamiliar faces surround you, and regardless of how alone you may feel, He is there. He will never leave you, never forsake you, and never forget where you are.
So He doesn’t want us to become trapped, debilitated by fear. He’s called us to good works, to proclaim His Word, and to glorify His name. He has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (1 Tim 1:7 KJV) He has made you free indeed, including freed from the power of fear.
God has called us found. God has called us to courage.
To Stand Up
By a 13-year-old girl
I know, for me, a couple of things that come to my head when I think of courage is knights saving the princess from the evil dragon, or even firefighters going into the burning house to save a girl maybe police officers risking their own lives to save millions. But I know that I don’t have enough “courage” to be anyone of those things. But courage isn’t all about the hero stuff that you might read about books or hear on the news….it is more than that. It is standing up for what you know is right even though it might be tough or maybe it just doesn’t feel right. One time when I was at my youth group I was hanging out with some of my friends and I glanced out of the window and noticed that another girl that I was acquainted with was sitting by herself outside and she didn’t really look like she was happy. At that point one of my friends in the group looked out the window to and we made eye contact and he commented something about her. Nothing mean but enough to make me think about what my friends might think if I went out there to talk to her. I stood there for a few seconds trying to decide if I should go out there and not care about what they thought of me. For me it took a lot of courage to push aside the fact that I might be judged for acting out of kindness. I decided that I would take the chance and I went out and talked to her…after I went out and talked I felt really glad that I did…and one thing is none of my friends said anything (good or bad) about the fact that I went out to talk to her. . So if you ever are struggling to stand up for someone, be someone’s friend, or just standing up for God, God gave us courage to do all those things. And He also gave us the power and ability to use the courage He gives us.
By a 15-year-old girl
A couple summers ago I went to a Christian camp that I have been to many times. At the beginning of the week, our leader told us that later in the week we would be doing the camp’s giant rock climbing wall. I immediately had nerves because the last time I did the wall I couldn’t make it up and it was very difficult for me. In that moment I prayed to God that he would help me make it up that wall. When the end of the week came, we headed to the tower (where the rock wall was) and I immediately had memories from the past. I was one of the last people to volunteer to go up. Before I knew it I was up at the top of the tower and felt relieved. I couldn’t believe I made it up the wall. One of the most memorable parts was when one of the leaders told me that I was one of the fastest people to get up to the top in our group. This made me smile and I knew that it was only through God that I was able to accomplish such a thing. The same thing also happened with a trust fall exercise we did. We were five feet in the air and we had to trust fall and hope our group below caught us. I was scared about doing this, but once I got onto the ledge I took a deep breath and fell. I had a rush of adrenaline and could feel God’s power and providence.
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