Fear is a funny thing. It has sometimes caught me offguard; like the time when I was 3 years old, playing in my neighbors back yard. Suddenly, a young boy appeared in front of me; a stranger. Oh – all he wanted was to play, but as soon as he opened his mouth and revealed his very LARGE buck teeth, I gasped in fear and ran off crying. Wow! His buck teeth, to my young impressionalble mind, took on a storybook-like caricature; suddenly, he was as terrifying as the Big Bad Wolf or as spooky as Blackbeard’s Ghost. But Fear can do that to a person. I wish I could say that I outgrew most of my childhood fears; although I am happy to report that I not longer run away and cry when I see boys with buck teeth or people of different skin color, my fears have sometimes manifested in other ways as an adult.
Last Sunday in church, I knew the Lord Jesus was speaking to me when the Pastor mentioned this story about a friend who enjoyed fishing in the wilderness. You see his buddy sent him a photo of a deer and a mountain lion, two wild animals he saw while on his trip in the open country. My Pastor ,alarmed, said to his pal, “Wow! what did you do when you saw the mountain lion standing before you on the ridge, my friend?”
“Oh, not much,” he said, ” I just stood firm and waved my hands big in the air. You never run. If you run the enemy will think you are prey and attack you.” Now after some thought I realized that the Lord was on to something here. I took a moment to mentally review my life and all the dead ends: failed relationships, jobs, churches, hobbies I had started – stopped – and started again, the countless times I had moved, transitioned from one thing to the next, and it dawned on me – this message was for me personally. If I was willing to be honest with myself, I could see the pattern. I had a stronghold, of “running away” from things when times got tough. Some might just call it a “Commitment” problem, plain and simple.
The message that day was on Standing Firm in the Lord. Resisting the temptation to “run away” when conflict appeared; whether that be in a relational dispute, a problem at work, school, or just staying with something I was working on (like a hobby or talent) and not giving up. The first step toward change was to acknowledge I had a problem and own it. I had to stop blaming everyone else for the trials and failures in my life and realize that I was mostly to blame for my own troubles. Sounds easy, right? Well, it takes more than just thinking about it for a moment. I took up the pen and decided that I was going to stop “running away” from every difficult thing in my life. I was making a conscious decision to Stand Firm. Of course, I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, I would need to lean on the Lord Jesus to resist the temptation when it came. As a part of the body of Christ ,(the Bride of Christ), I would need to arm myself with His Word when the fiery trials of life came my way. The Bible records that, “with God, all things are possible,” Matthew 19:26.
Growth happens when we Stand Firm and are willing to “work through” the problems we encounter in life, not run from them. I am trusting the Lord to give me courage to face the days ahead and to help me rise above my circumstances. I know there is no perfect career, or guy, or church, or city; but that sometimes, instead of “running away”, God may be asking me to Stand Firm and BE the change that I desire to see.