Wednesday, February 08, 2017

When It Comes to Faith, Our Fears Do Not Count

Lamp post on a snowy night in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania

The great theologian John Wayne once said, "Courage is being afraid, but saddling up anyway."

Faith is the same. Faith is RISK. Wherever there is risk, there can be fear.

This is about obedience. First, discern what God would have you do today. Second, do it. You may feel afraid, but at this point your fears are irrelevant, even as they are sympathized with. I hear God saying, "John, I know you are afraid to do what I have asked you to do. Nonetheless, do it. I will be with you in your fear."

Certainty contains no fear. I am certain the chair I am sitting on will hold me. So, of course, sitting in this chair produces no fear in me. But Hebrews 11:6 does not say, "Without certainty it is impossible to please the Lord." Thank God he does not ask this of us! Because then every fear, small or big, would betray us, and we would be constantly displeasing to the Lord.

Faith will always bring some measure of uncertainty, without which it would not qualify as faith.

In this way, when it comes to faith acting out of obedience, our fears, while real and even expected, do not count (even as God continually sympathizes with our weaknesses).

I am currently writing Leading the Presence-Driven Church (June 2017), and How God Changes the Human Heart (A Phenomenology of Spiritual Transformation) (June 2018).

My recent book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.