Fear, Hesitation, and Trust

12 03 2006

Deuteronomy 20:1-4,8 (NIV) 1 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. 4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

8 Then the officers shall add, “Is any man afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his brothers will not become disheartened too.”

What is fear? Is it related to indecision? Is it a cousin of hesitation? I think so. We don’t always fear — as in terrified panic and trembling, but we often hesitate. Though panic can be quite obvious, sometimes our mere hesitation is just as problematic.

When I was in the 5th grade, an entertaining forest ranger came to speak to our school. I’ve never forgotten some of the lessons he taught us about getting lost and seeking help. But mostly, he showed us a great parody on those who do get lost. Their motto is: “When in danger, when in doubt; run in circles, scream and shout!” I’ve witnessed this kind of panic.

Then there is the more sophisticated type of fear – the kind of fear that appears as mere hesitation. In fact this may be the worst kind. It is certainly the most prevalent. And, it certainly affects the world more profoundly.

People are afraid to commit, afraid to offend, afraid of rejection, and afraid of being misunderstood. People are afraid of being left out, joining the wrong clique, or taking the wrong job. We are often afraid to make a mistake, afraid of failure, and of missing an opportunity. In fact, we probably miss more opportunities by not seizing the moment that we do by not taking risks.

People are afraid of marrying the wrong person, joining the wrong church, or missing out on something better. Yet some great examples tell us that the greatest risk takers (Edison, Ford, Michelangelo, and others) achieve the greatest successes. So why are we afraid?
In the above text, God tells us to allow the fearful ones to go home. This is twofold — first, the spoken reason. so they won’t dishearten the others. but there is the practical application also. Fearful, hesitant people just get in the way. When the battle cry is given, they hesitate, stand in the way, and generally cause more problems than necessary. They are the first to be wounded and require more resources. They are the first around the chuck wagon and the first to take a break.

God is looking for those who trust Him implicitly. He said that He will fight for us. If we believe that, we have no need to be afraid.

Father God, bring us brave, faithful leaders. Bring us men and women who are ready to move forward and to not hesitate. Make me into a courageous leader for you.

I love you Lord!





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