People say I’m brave for living in Africa. I don’t feel brave. In fact, a lot of times I’m downright scared. Before moving to Uganda, I had several major fears that I recognized and had to purposefully surrender to Jesus. The list wasn’t very long, but included on that list were an assault and being rejected by people I so loved. It was a bit of a shock to realize that 2 of my major fears came true within months of each other.
I’m not going to lie and say that I realize now that I had no reason to fear those things. Let me tell you, actually experiencing them was just as painful as I had feared. The loss, grief, depression, anger, and deep aching pain were all very real. No, I don’t believe God tells us time and time again “Don’t be afraid” because there is nothing to fear. On the contrary, there is so much to rightfully fear that comes from living in a broken world and surrounds us every moment. Loved ones agonize through cancer. Jobs are lost. People lie and stab us in the back. Cars crash. Affection is won and lost again.
So how could God expect us to act in defiance of our fears? How could He really ask us to be brave and not fear the things that will cause us so much pain? What kind of sense does that make? It doesn’t. But that’s exactly what makes faith so beautiful. Faith stands in the face of disaster and says, “You will not conquer me, for Christ has overcome.” Faith shouts to love lost and says, “I will still love again, for Christ’s love is more powerful than rejection.” Faith stands and shouts for all to hear, “ What you meant for evil, God has used for good.”
That is the truth. By faith our fears are conquered. By faith, they have lost their power. By faith, I can choose to look through all the darkness and suffering and find the bright gems of hope, peace, and contentment that Jesus will provide. And by faith, I can be grateful for even the things I feared most.
Some of my greatest fears have come true, and I have seen they are small in Jesus’ hands. There is nothing too big that He cannot overcome. There is nothing too painful that He cannot heal. There is nothing too ugly that He cannot make beautiful. My faith is not unfounded or foolish: it is proven right every day. When I was broken and at a loss as to how to heal, Jesus pursued my heart and brought one thing after another to convince me of His love. When I was grieving the loss of so much, Jesus led me into an even deeper connection with God, and showed me a glimpse of what it is to be totally satisfied in Him. Jesus demonstrated that all my fears become nothing but a tool for Him to bring blessing.
That is why I will again choose to surrender my fears to Jesus. I will choose to live in a place that is not completely safe. I will choose to give of myself to people that could reject me. I will choose to love people even if they don’t deserve it. I will choose Africa again, because I know that is God’s choice for me and His choice is perfect for me. I will choose faith.
What fears have you seen conquered by Jesus? How has His power been demonstrated in the things you have feared the most?