Difficult things . . . things beyond my comfort zone or even beyond my abilities. For me, that would have included, anything that I had to do in front of watching people . . . That terrified me. I would literally tremble. I can easily see how fear limited me in the past.

In junior high, I went to Blue Lake music camp for band. My parents paid for me to take private cornet lessons.  Private?  Eek!  Play alone? . . . In front of someone?  Me?  Well, that didn’t happen. I deliberately began to chew away at the inside of my lip, so that I could show the teacher that I couldn’t take the lesson . . . and I didn’t . . .  I was too afraid.

When in High School, I sang with a small group called The Lamplighters . . . A group of only eight.  I was ok with that, as long as I didn’t have to sing a solo . . . or even be singled out to sing the bass part alone during practice.

During concerts, we did a parody of an old-time radio show. Before one performance, I was asked to do the sound effects for the radio show bit, into the microphone.  For one sound effect, I had to blow bubbles, with a straw, in a glass of water.  It was to simulate the sound of a bubbling brook.  When I performed, I shook so much, that the water went everywhere. After the show, my director said I went overboard with the slapstick comedy.  He didn’t know that I was shaking due to fear. Oh, by the way, I was in High School and that was before a grade school audience.

Later, I sang with a similar group called The Macombers, from Macomb Community College.  Once, I was asked to sing a solo . . . Sixteen Tons was the name of the song.  My debut was in front of a small group of Girl Scouts.  It was a flop . . . I was so concerned about hitting the first note that I forgot the second word and just stopped.  I never was asked to solo again.

Speaking in front of a crowd people was way beyond my comfort zone.  I was more than just a little afraid of public speaking.  In college, I was forced to face that fear, however, I all public speaking classes until my last year of school.  I figured, there was no point in putting myself through that trauma if the Lord returned before then.

The day finally came when I had to face my fear.  I prayed . . . I prayed a lot . . . I practiced a lot . . . and I prayed a lot more. God helped me to overcome that obstacle . . . a barrier that, I thought, would take me down.  When God placed me in ministry . . . I found myself in a church in front of people.  It was all God.

One of the phrases that I have use over the years is, “Me plus God are a majority.”  It’s important for me to realize that God doesn’t need me to be that majority. His strength, working through me can overcome all odds and even my fears and shortcomings . . . I need to let Him lead.  And still, even though I know that, at times, fear still dictates my moves.

Joshua 2 is a passage that leaves me with a couple of questions.  First, Why did Israel send spies into the land if God was their strength? Second, why do people always say that Rahab was wrong for lying, but never condemn the two spies for hiding on the roof?  Aren’t they trying to deceive the people? It seems to me that they’re doing the same thing as Rahab, lying.  Without words. but by their actions, they are shouting . . . “We’re not here.”

It became obvious that Rahab acted out of faith in God. Her fear was legitimate because it was based on truth. She believed that everything that had been done for Israel came from the hand of God.  Yet all of Israel, the very ones who had experienced the very things that caused the people of Jericho to believe in God’s power, needed to “check things out”.

Nothing the spies did changed anything regarding the battle that was fought.  It’s interesting that God used fear to overcome their foe . . . Rahab and her family were saved because of her fear.  God’s grace and mercy showed up in spite of Israel’s weakness.  The victory belonged to the Lord.

Fear . . . I need to understand that God can use my fear to demonstrate His strength and control in my life.  God is all powerful and will always be a majority. . . He is worthy of my trust.

Lord Help me to rest in Your unchanging strength that You put on display every day.  Give me the discipline to engage in the opportunities You put before me, no matter how fearful I may be.  Your strength is demonstrated through my weakness.

Joshua 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” And they went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab and lodged there. And it was told to the king of Jericho, “Behold, men of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” Then the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. And she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And when the gate was about to be closed at dark, the men went out. I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hid them with the stalks of flax that she had laid in order on the roof.So the men pursued after them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. And the gate was shut as soon as the pursuers had gone out.

Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the Lord that, as I have dealt kindly with you, you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a sure sign 13 that you will save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 And the men said to her, “Our life for yours even to death! If you do not tell this business of ours, then when the Lord gives us the land we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.” (biblegateway.com, ESV)

More than just a believer in God, I need to be a follower of Jesus!