Fear vs. Faith


Before I was a believer in Yeshua I had strong faith in God. I prayed to Him and I felt He answered prayer. He was God on high with a busy agenda with so many people to listen to, so I understood if prayers went unanswered. I still had strong faith for I believed in Him, just not that He really stooped to listen to each individual’s pleas. He surely had proven Himself as God, however, by all the miraculous evidences in the tales from the Bible that I had learned and based on my Jewish upbringing.


During that time in my life (my first 50 years) fear often prevented me from more fully living. I’ve delayed making a decision that could have been great but fear of the unknown held me back. I’ve not taken a trip for fear of not having enough money. I’ve taken more conservative approaches for fear of risk. I’ve not tried something new for fear of failure.


Since I’ve become a believer in Yeshua and also significantly grown in my faith walk, I would make different decisions today than at those times. We grow in our faith walks every day if we prioritize this journey. I’ve learned that HaShem through Yeshua brings that seemingly far away God into our lives intimately. With Yeshua at my side, inscribed in my heart, guiding my steps, holding my hand spiritually, I have no fear.


As my faith has matured, so too, has my ability to make mistakes for I continue to learn humility, a virtue learned through experiencing the presence of Yeshua. Pride is often the deterrent of action for fear of failure. As I continue to learn humility through the reality of Yeshua in my daily life, both fear and pride are conquered.


I’ve been able to take more risk as I deliberately step out in faith on financial and business decisions, even though still doing my part to plan and analyze. I take care of my health and personal decisions to the best of my ability balancing so many options and possibilities, always prioritizing relationships with loved ones. I’ve taken comfort in knowing that although I’ve been given free will to make choices, that ultimately my fate is in HaShem’s Hands and that even my mistakes will be used to make me closer to Him. I know He has my back.


Even with all of this, we all grapple with fear at times. In today’s world, however, we are faced not only with these same complex of personal issues but they are also intensified by the societal issues that frame them in ways that increase our apprehension. We have to remind ourselves to have faith in light of daily headlines that are more often than not, highly discouraging, and frightening.


Many today not only frame the decision to have children on their own personal situation, but also, on whether given the state of the world they want children to experience life at all. COVID, reliance on social media rather than personal contact, migration from the nuclear family, polarized communities, all these realities can push people to not even try to build relationships. Fear of rejection plus these societal pressures create lack of intimacy, self protection, loss of loving others and being loved. Fear of loss individually and relationally intensifies to include fear of loss due to wars, mass shootings, climate change. The resulting isolation makes us vulnerable to the voices of fear.


So why is this not gloom and doom? It is not. It is exactly the opposite.


Perhaps at a time when so much seems to be spinning out of control, whether personally, societally, or both, we become more open to seek God’s help. What an amazingly freeing feeling to know that we don’t have to worry about, or be fearful of, any of these concerns, other than to work to make them better by doing our small part to be conscientious in our actions and to spread His Love.


We take responsibility for the consequences of our actions or inactions. We strive to be good stewards of this earth and its resources. We act in love and forgiveness. We guide our decisions by listening to Him in daily prayer, the end result being we turn over the outcomes to Him. We literally do lay our burdens at His feet. We remind ourselves His timeframe is not the same as is ours. We realize that we have no control over any of these outcomes, nor are we intended to have that control. When we realize these truths, we no longer fear the results.


When we internalize the fundamental truth that God’s got this, the entire paradigm shifts. We become able to live life fully, not one diminished by lack of participation due to fear.


We have been given free will to choose to believe in the reality of God. We have been given the tools to be disciplined in our faith – daily Bible reading (Daily D’var), daily prayer, Havruta partners, a strong faith community. God is real. Yeshua is the promised Messiah. Faith in these truths, in the reality of the Risen One, then fuels vibrant lives, seen in tonight’s Chanukah lights all aglow.


Happy Hanukkah and Shabbat shalom.


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