The other day I opened the door to our suburban to find this -
This coon, that had made my heart skip a beat, was dead. There was absolutely nothing it could to me, but for a few minutes it kept me from doing what I needed to do. My fear messed with me so much I even resorted to calling my husband and asking, "What am I supposed to do now?" He stated the obvious, I did it and then I moved on with my day.
Later on as I thought about this, God started speaking to me about other things I am afraid of - like failing and letting people down. He also brought up my fear of man. He didn't stop there, He went on to liken them to the coon. These fears can also stop me in my tracks, make my heart race and keep me from the plans God has for me.
Being afraid of a dead raccoon really is ridiculous, but friend it's just as crazy to fear man and failure. An animal that is no longer living truly is not a threat. Though it can't harm me, I'm not saying it won't scare me. I may be scared of failure or letting others down, but I can't let that fear paralyze me and keep me from doing what I need to do.
I've been spending some time studying Ezekiel, the man I really only knew for the dry bones story, but I'm grateful for all God's been teaching me through him. He is a man who was being sent by God to his own people, ones who were rebellious and ones God said would not listen to him. Doesn't that sound like a fun assignment?!?! (If you're a mom, perhaps it's one you can relate to?!? :)
Personally, I would have been afraid! And honestly, I think Ezekiel was too. Why else would God say these words in verse 6, "And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people." Three times God told him, "Do not be afraid."
Oh friend, God has told me the same thing too many times to count! And often times even though God says that, I can still be afraid. When I read on in Ezekiel I appreciated knowing I was not alone; verse 14 tells us he went on in anger and bitterness. He really didn't want to do it. But more important than our shared feelings is the simple fact that Ezekiel went. He was afraid, but yet he obeyed.
His obedience trumped his feelings. I hate to admit I sometimes allow the opposite to happen in my life. My feelings, especially those of fear and doubt, can keep me from doing what God asks me to do. How about you?
But the good news is God is a loving Father who teaches us and gives us another chance! The next time He asks you to obey, even if you're afraid, remember you're not alone and our fears can't hurt us, but disobedience does have consequences.
I didn't want to remove the raccoon from our vehicle, but I did it anyway. I really didn't have any other choice. And friend I pray you and I will walk in obedience in a similar way. When we're afraid, when obeying is hard and even when it makes no sense, I'm asking God to help us do it anyway!
Something to think about - When is a time fear paralyzed you? Can you share an example of when you obeyed even though you were afraid? How does reflecting on this impact you?
A great song that speaks to this very idea is "Do it Afraid" by Elizabeth South. Listen to it here -