Fear, this is a short but powerful word. As children, we imagine something or someone patiently waiting for us to let down our guard, clutch us by the foot, and then drag us to our death. Now, those child-like terrors are a thing of the past. In the present, our fears are more sophisticated, subtle, more pervasive, and real. As adults, we have merely traded our infant apprehensions for grown up ones: fear of failure, of losing a loved one, of rejection, and of death.
I am often given to fear. By default, I am contemplative. I analyze and over analyze. I ponder and am pensive. I muse. I think about how I’m thinking. Stated simply, I overthink. Though this aspect of my personality is helpful, it regularly amplifies my fears and anxieties. I am frequently anxious about my future. This has been especially true during this transitional period of my life. In August I will move to St. Louis, Missouri. After several years of prayerfully considering full-time ministry and encouraged and affirmed by our church leadership, I will begin seminary education. I have been looking forward to this experience for a while and yet, fear and anxiety have never felt closer. Not knowing how things will turn out during my time in seminary and what life will be like after I finish has resulted in plenty of fear and anxiety ridden nights that rob me of sleep. What is worse, these emotions rob me of peace and many times lead me to despair. The truth is that though we follow and worship the God of the universe – the God who holds all things together – fear and anxiety often diminish our confidence in Him. Graciously, God is not silent. Here is one way God has spoken to me in the midst of my angst and worries.
“Have You Not Understood?”
The word “majesty” comes from the Latin, and it means greatness. Scripture repeatedly uses this word about God. (Exodus 15:7,11, Psalm 93:1). There are two reasons for this. First, His majesty is meant to drive us to worship (Psalm 8). We are to see greatness in His character, wisdom, and works, and be in awe of who He is. Second, God’s majesty is also meant to deliver us from fear and anxiety. In Isaiah 40, Judah is in Babylonian captivity. God’s people were in fear and falling into despair. Their enemy was strong and the future grim, but in the midst of their dread, God reminds Judah of His majesty. He says in Isaiah 40:21 (ESV), “Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.” In other words, God is telling Judah, “Remember, and understand who I am and where I sit. The people you so much dread are but insects in comparison to me!” So, when I am seized with fear and anxiety over my future, God has graciously said, “Juan, behold your God!” He has reminded me that He alone sits on the exulted throne and all that is frightful, by comparison, is like a candle to the sun. Therefore, fear not! It is our Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32).
Juan Vasquez has been a member since 2013 and currently serves in the Diaconate. This August he will be starting a three year program at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, MO.