A Spirit of Fear

A Spirit of Fear

I live in a country where I have had to go on lock down because of terriost attacks.   I have had my front door blown open because of a car bomb over three blocks away.  Friends have been killed because of terrorist attacks.  In those moments, fear can come in and paralyze you.   I have a choice.  I can live in fear, or I can remember that God has not given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, of love, and of self discipline. (II Tim 4:7)  It doesn’t mean I am careless or not aware of the security risks.  Instead, I live life wisely knowing the risks yet still serving the people God sent me to serve.   Fear is a tool of the enemy.  Love is a tool of God.

There are times that God has called us to live outside of our comfort zones.  For me, it was moving to different country and learning a new culture and language.  Some days it means I look stupid when I can’t find the right words to say.  Other days it means I sit for an hour with a lady who needs money as she tells me her story, and I am not sure how to help her without hurting her in the long run.  I am not totally comfortable as I walk on the streets of my new city.  I am a foreigner who attracts attention even though I dress very conservative.  It is not comfortable, but it is life.  For one friend, stepping outside her comfort zone meant adopting a 15 year old girl even though she already had four girls of her own.  What if it didn’t work out?  What if it totally messed up her nice family?  For another friend, it means investing in a community that many have forgotten.  Each week, she and others are loving on the kids of that community and finding ways to connect with their families.  I find that it is when we step out of our comfort zones that we really see God work.   God has not given us a spirit of fear.  We have to reject the spirit of fear before the spirit of power, of love, and of self discipline can truly kick in and start to work.

So my question is… What if God is using refugees to bring the world to America so that those refugees can learn about a Savior that many have never heard of?  Or maybe a better question is…What if God is bringing the refugees to America to change us?  Our family has friends who work with refugees from Burma.  They tell us that they feel like they have been given more then they have given when working with these dear people.  Their faith has been challenged.  Their faith has grown.  Maybe God is asking America to step out of its comfort zone so He can truly move in and through us.  In James 1:27, it says that “pure and genuine religion in the sight of God means taking care of widows and orphans in their distress.”  What if God is calling us to take care of these orphans and widows who are refugees.  (Here is a post from Desiring God that says it well.)

But is it safe?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I do know from helping friends here that it is very hard to get a visa to the US.  Many local friends have been turned down even just for a short visit.  These friends were good people who had great references and were not flight risks.  I can’t imagine the hoops these refugees will have to go through for a more permanent visit.  The process is not perfect because we are human, but I do think it is not as easy as we think to become a refugee to America.  (Here is an article about the process) We also have to remember that the world is not safe anymore.  God often reminded the Israelites that their trust was  not to be in Egypt or the other countries around them.  Their trust was to be in God alone no matter the circumstances.  Maybe God is calling us to this kind of trust.  

So I don’t usually talk about political topics on this blog but today my heart is hurting for those people who are hurting all around the world.  I know there are a lot of sides to this issue and things that need to be considered.  But let’s make sure our decisions are based on what God would have us do and not a spirit of fear.  

For a good perspective of what is like at the border where many refugees are coming in, go to  the blog Across Cultures

Here is my prayer for today. 

Dear God  I am praying for the people who are hurting because they have no home to go back to.  I am praying for the children who have seen too much violence in their short lifetime.  My prayers also goes to governments and countries as they decide on the fate of these refugees.   May God be with the fear that is out there.  Give us wisdom and grace to deal with those who are in need and distress.  May we truly seek your will in this situation not be ruled by fear for you have not given us a spirit of fear.  May we instead live in the spirit of power, of love, and of self discipline that you have given us.  Amen

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