I generally don't consider myself a fearful person. With the exception of heights and moths. Seriously, last year I went rappelling and literally cried the whole way down. Ha!
But generally speaking, I'm not afraid of too many things. God has given me an exceptionally trusting spirit. (Which sometimes plays out in crazy ways. Did you ever read the story of my exploded car?) But just as Warren Wiersbe says "Even the best men are only men at best"
I am not immune from fear. Last year when I was praying about doing college ministry full time I was overcome with fear and didn't realize it. Fear of what people thought, fear of failure, fear of not doing the will of God, etc. The scariest part of all of it though? I didn't go to God's word but relied on my feelings and circumstances. I sought out the counsel of others more than the counsel of God. The Lord in his patience did not give up on me and helped me to see my error. I repented and God's word reminded me what was true - "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9)
When we respond to fear by looking to God's word first, instead of our feelings and circumstances, the outcome is totally different.
In 1 Samuel 23:1-6 we see how David and his men respond to fear. David is running from Saul because Saul is crazy (literally) and wants to kill him. David was anointed (fancy Bible word for chosen) by God and Samuel affirmed that when David was just a boy. God promised to send his Spirit to be with David that day.
Through out all his trials, David could fall back on what he knew to be true - The Spirit of the Lord was with him. (Before Christ the Spirit would come and go, but as believers now we know that the Spirit will never leave us if we have identified ourselves in Christ. He is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until Christ returns[Eph 1:13-14])
So when David hears of a problem in God's kingdom, in the town of Keilah, he is moved to action. His first step is to ask God what to do "Shall I go and attack the Philistines?" The Lord responds "Go and save Keilah"
As a leader, the next step for David was to share with his men what God had told him. Upon hearing this plan David's men were terrified. Which is totally understandable! The Philistines are big and scary (remember Goliath?) plus they had the added fear of running from Saul's army who wanted to kill them also.
No doubt this sounded like an impossible feat. Which it probably was if the Lord wasn't with them. But remember "What is impossible with men is possible with God" (Luke 18:27)
David probably was afraid too. So he again went to the Lord. "Are you sure?"
Sometimes I'm guilty of thinking that God would react the same way I would. Because I would be so dang annoyed at David's doubt. "Uh yes David, just like I told you 5 minutes ago. Go and save Keilah!"
But seriously? I'm not even as trusting as David. When faced with fear in my own life I didn't even go to God's word the first time, let alone a second time! I could surely learn from David!!
So anyways, thankfully the Lord is nothing like me and is patient with our doubt and fear. He again tells David his will and promises him that He'll deliver the Philistines into David's hands. The Lord is always faithful to hear our pleas.
David and his men obeyed the Lord, even though every circumstance was against them. They were outnumbered, under-skilled, and literally backing themselves into a corner (Keilah was a walled city).
Because the Lord is faithful, He upheld His promise to deliver David and his men. They ended up not only saving Keilah and coming out unharmed, but also with a great reward, the Philistines' livestock.
As a leader, I'm challenged by David's quick obedience. His response to fear, not just once but twice, is to go to God's word and then obey what He says.
Lord, make us like David - quick to seek your Word when things get hard. Let us not be ruled by fear or emotions but fully clinging to your promises. We want to be quick to obey you and live out our faith. Thank you for the promise you've given us in your Spirit. Thank you that we can know You're always with us. Help us lean wholly on You, Your Word, and Your Spirit this week.