"Do not Fear." This is the most frequently given command in the Bible - Used over 200 times. God knew we would be cowards. Choosing to run. Choosing the safe path. Choosing to just avoid getting out of the boat. At times fear is good in that it does keep us safe. Mostly, I think fear is Satan's weapon in keeping us from living meaningful lives.
I've never been big on New Year's resolutions. Perhaps better stated, I've never been big on keeping New Year's resolutions. This past January my resolution was to stop dreaming and start doing. Having reached the age of 50, I recognized that it really was time for me to get out of the boat. Having just reread If You Want To Walk On Water You Have To Get Out Of The Boat over the holidays I had the strongest sense that life had to have more to it than selling medical devices. As both a Christian and a nurse, I constantly wondered how I had ended up on that path. What made this resolution or decision different was that I prayed about it, committing it to God.
In my wildest imagination I never would have pictured that within three weeks of making that resolution, and really opening myself up to His will for the first time in life, that I would be working in Haiti helping deal with the aftermath of a tragic earthquake. Seeing true desperation. Seeing unbearable loss. Seeing unimaginable poverty and devastation. But most important, seeing God use me and others to care for His children in powerful ways I had never dreamed possible.
These past five months in Haiti have taught me more about God and His power than anything in the previous fifty years combined. My biggest lesson: If I just say yes to Him, He really will take control and take care of me. Scary? Unbelievably so. Do Not Fear. This is my daily struggle. Fear. Fear of what this mission is doing to relationships at home. Fear of financial difficulties. Fear that people think I am irresponsible for listening to God's voice.
This has been my longest visit home since I started working in Haiti. While the comforts are so alluring, I know in my heart this isn't where God wants me to be. Maybe another of Satan's weapons are comfort. When we're riding in a plush comfortable boat, who in their right mind would want to step out of it? Do Not Fear.
I am convicted that any desire to give up and stay home is based on fear. Giving up possessions is scary. Do Not Fear. I've sold a lot of possessions to be able to keep working in Haiti. The funny thing is I haven't missed one of them even once. In looking at my life, I still have so many other possessions that can go just as easily and never be missed.
The relationships are really scary. Do Not Fear. I have a lovely wife and four great kids at home, two are out of school, one is in college, and a fifteen year old daughter who is still at home. We all miss each other desperately when I'm gone. I hope that by living life for God, really saying yes to Him and allowing Him to use me as He sees fit, I am being a better husband and father than if I were at home all the time earning a million dollars a year. Scary? Absolutely. Do Not Fear.
Working in Haiti, I have seen God physically work in my life and lives of others in ways I never imagined possible. This has led me to question many of the beliefs I had about the power of the Holy Spirit and His abilities. I have really seen miraculous things. These are not things the church I grew up in really taught or believed. In this way and others my whole religious belief system has been turned inside out over the past five months. Do Not Fear. The reality is that I have a closer and more intimate relationship with my Father than ever before in my life and am beginning to recognize and be amazed by His incredible power.
A common question I have heard this visit home is "are you going back?". While I respond with the date of my next trip, in my heart I'm screaming, "how can I not go back?". Having seen the unimaginable along with the miraculous from the comforts of my previous life, to not go back would be no different than Peter's denials after Jesus' arrest. I have seen God's power at work. I would be more afraid to deny that than succumb to all the fears at home combined.
God is in control. God will provide our daily bread. God is active and working in our lives and world. Having come to see and recognize this, it gets easier to obey the command Do Not Fear. As I grow closer to God, I am beginning to see it not so much as a command, but more of a comfort. I am starting to hear it more as "don't be afraid, I've got your back".
He does. Do Not Fear
Grace and peace,