30 Aug Saying ‘Yes’ in the Midst of Fear
Because I work from home, I venture to check out different coffee shops as my “office.” One day, while working at a local Starbucks, I noticed a man sitting a few seats away reading his Bible. This obviously caught my eye since this is not a common sight to see in public anymore.
Immediately the thought came into my head to talk to him and ask him what he was reading. Of course my heart started racing and my palms started sweating. Starbucks is not really the hotbed for Christian activity these days, so it was easy for me to justify why I was so nervous. You would have thought I was preparing myself to go skydiving!
Hesitantly, I ended up asking him what he was reading. This resulted in a short conversation about scripture before we both returned to our work. There was no miracle that took place (that I’m aware of), nor an incredible conversation about who Jesus is. This story might sound boring if we stop here. But I think there’s something more.
In Acts 8 we read about Philip encountering a similar scenario. It reads, “He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip RAN to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”
It’s easy for us to look at the Bible and characters in the Bible and think since it was so long ago, they don’t know what we are dealing with or know what is going on in our culture. But, in reality they might have had things even worse. People are people. They always have been and always will be. Everyone has the same basic fears, desires, and needs. The biggest difference here though is that Philip had friends dying for believing in Jesus and here he was ready to tell a foreigner on the side of the road about Jesus. Thinking about this story immediately puts my fear of striking up a conversation into perspective.
What if we said ‘yes’ to that fear more often? What I find interesting in that story is that it doesn’t say the Spirit said to Philip, Go over and join this Chariot and Philip thought about for awhile or Philip waited until someone could go with him or even that he prayed about for a while. It says that he ran over there. He was in such a hurry to obey the spirit that he literally ran. I think it would be easy but naïve to suggest that Philip would not have been nervous or even fearful. But, he said yes in the midst of that fear.
Our lives, our faith, and our impact in God’s plan for us would look radically different if we “ran” when the spirit prompted us. We must say ‘yes’ even in the midst of fear. Maybe this is saying yes to a short-term mission through your church. Maybe it is saying ‘yes’ to trusting God more with your finances and giving with a cheerful heart rather than out of obligation. Maybe it is inviting that neighbor over for dinner that you know is going to ask about your faith and even ask those difficult questions you may not know the answer to. Maybe it is finding a way to serve at your local church. What ever it is, RUN don’t walk.
How many opportunities in our lives have we missed because we were waiting for God to REALLY tell us, or even that we wanted to spend some extra time in prayer before we make the decision.
The story with Philip continues and the Ethiopian was baptized right then and there. Story after story in the New Testament plays out like this. We wonder why the apostles were able to do such miraculous things. I contend it is because the apostles did not hesitate to the Spirit’s promptings but were faith filled in the understanding that any situation that presented itself with fear, they knew who their God was and the power He held.