And the primary stimulus driving all these concerns is FEAR. But this should not surprise us. Fear is one of the primary spiritual weapons that the Enemy uses to control the destiny of mankind. We only have to look back at the Biblical story of Joshua and Caleb, who were part of the contingent of 12 spies sent into the Promised Land to determine if it could be conquered. But ten of the spies came back and reported that they were defeated before they ever began. They were filled with fear and let that fear completely vanquish them. But it was Caleb who said, "But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God".
That is what we're seeing today. Those who are unhappy with the direction in which our nation is moving (whether you believe God has a hand in it, or not) are instilling their fears in the general population. And I know that many of these fears are justified -- I get it! But, you see, Caleb was free from fear, and he used his trust in God to try to help the people of Israel overcome their fears. And those of us who are like Caleb, and surrender to the will of God, have something to say to people who are afraid. Our surrender to God is the only answer to the problem of fear.
I know that won't be the answer for far too many people, and it will be difficult to minister and serve others who do not have the same faith we do in God. And it is also a disservice to all people to pretend that there are no difficulties; we cannot and should not persuade others to escape reality. BUT, we can listen to their fears, remain calm, report the facts, and look for ways to encourage them. After all, Caleb did not pretend that the giants did not exist. But he was different from most of the men who returned from the Promised Land spreading their fear. He tried to report the good things, too.
I know this may sound too simplistic or optimistic. And I know people have greatly suffered in recent years as we get closer to Jesus's return. I personally learned of the deaths of a couple that Mark and I were close to since we met and married over 30 years ago. We had not been able to get in touch with them; Christmas cards were returned, and the phone number went unanswered until it finally was disconnected. We had tried to make the trip to see them because we knew something was wrong, but the last communication we had with them was that they didn't want to see anyone. You see, they were living in fear, isolating themselves in their home, overcome with anxiety and foreboding about what they saw happening in the world. I am so sad [and mad] that they died alone, and that the devil was able to distract them with what he put before their eyes.
I could stay focused on that tragedy, and let it consume me, and begin to sow seeds of doubt in the speculation of my own future. But like Caleb, I choose to look for the good things that have happened on the revelation of this heart-rending news. I reconnected to the niece of my friend [who was a roommate in a house we shared in our younger years], and also re-established a connection with someone who had worked with me and this couple. We all agreed that we had tried to help them, but they listened to the whispers of fear promoted by the devil. And we decided to join together to remember happier times and to express our gratitude for having them in our lives. And we have vowed to remain connected. That is the good that we choose to embrace.
But this couple, and the entire nation, would have been well-served to remember Caleb's words. He said, "We are well able". This does not mean that he had confidence only in himself. Nor did he put undue emphasis on the military strength of Israel, either. No. He was emphasizing where their power really came from. It came from firm confidence in God’s power. I think it's time to ask ourselves, "Do we believe only in the power of men"? If we do, they are proving that they will fail us. Then when trouble comes [and it will ... Jesus said it will], then the spirits of doubt and unbelief join forces with the spirits of fear, anger, bitterness, and depression to keep us from seeing any possibility of God's goodness. Have we forgotten that we are well able?!?
We are able to overcome any obstacle and work together for the good of ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country. We have incredible resources to help the next generation(s) reach new heights. But we must teach them a robust work ethic and the fearlessness to seek out and take advantage of the opportunities put before them. Are you a college graduate searching for a job, or been laid off work and need to feed your family? The Mike Rowe Works Foundation is giving away $1 million in scholarships for those who are interested in attending trade schools or apprenticeship programs. The opportunities are there! But we must also give them a sound and solid moral foundation by which to live their lives; fundamentals by which they will thrive and please God, as they seek to serve others.
I cannot deny that there is a disparity in how the economy of our nation is functioning today compared to the recent past; people are less confident in their economic future. And the civil unrest and disrespect towards our fellow man is now on full display. Yes, there is the uncertainty of the corruption/hostility within our government, the overwhelming numbers of people crossing our borders, and the raging fires and devastating hurricanes -- and it all translates to both anxiety and confusion about the future. In Biblical terms, people are becoming overwhelmed with fear of the future, just as the Israelites did when they wanted to turn back from entering the Promised Land.
But we must adopt the lessons of Caleb and Joshua; we must cling to a strong faith that God has a plan for us if we will obey Him. If God has promised it, He will see it fulfilled. But we must do our part. We must remain righteous, seek His will rather than our own, and lean on His strength to defeat the giants before us. And, I'm not going to mislead you -- we are facing some huge giants. And I am aware that it rains on the just and the unjust. But I will not surrender to the sins and disobedience of others, and I will rely on my Lord to provide a Land of Goshen from which I can prosper and carry out my assignment for His Kingdom. It is important that we recognize that the spirit of Fear dealt a severe blow to the progress of the Israelites over 3500 years ago. Their growth and progress was stunted, and fear was to blame. Nothing has changed over the centuries. We must not allow fear to take root in our land and diminish the blessings and potential for our future generations. Stay the course ... trust in the Lord ... and know in your spirit that our giants can be defeated!
Numbers 13:30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it."