Reflections of the Pastor

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” [Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)].

            This verse became very personal to me in 1985 when we returned to Honduras for our third term in the mission field there.  I had been suffering from an extreme sciatic nerve inflammation for more than two months.  There were many other pressing issues hanging over our heads.  I had almost given up when the Holy Spirit alerted my heart to this verse.  I accepted it as God’s answer for that moment and it kept me strong until healing and our circumstances improved.

            Fear in the mind takes away hope heart.  There is a need for a healthy fear.  When you exit Silverlake Estates where we live, you are facing four lanes of traffic on Silverlake Road.  I often watch people cross on foot to get to the bus stop on the other side.  They watch to get across the first two lanes and then wait in the medium until they can cross safely the last two lanes.  Their fear of being hit by a car makes them cautious in how they cross the street.  That is a healthy fear.

            An unhealthy fear is one that exaggerates conditions and circumstances in one’s mind that destroys one’s  faith, but more importantly, it paralyzes their wills so they cannot take the measures they need to take.

            The cure for fear is to affirm in our minds and hearts that we are not alone.  God is with us.

            I remember a couple who had two small children.  The children were afraid of the dark so their parents gave them a flashlight they could turn on and it assured them that their parents were still in the house and they could go to sleep.

            Dismay is carrying our fears to an unprecedented level.  The Hebrew root for ‘dismay’ comes from the verb ‘to look” or “to inspect”.  The problem erupts when what is being inspected is interpreted in exaggerated measures.  This is what happened to the 10 faithless spies who gave Israel the bad report in Numbers 13:33: “There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”  How did these faithless spies know how they appeared in the eyes of the giants?  They didn’t know, but they told themselves how they must have looked.  And the worst of all, is that they believed their own false appraisal and became dismayed as a result.

            When David appeared on the battlefield and heard Goliath challenge the army of Israel, he found the king and all his army cowering in their tents in dismay.  They had no strength to even face the giant.

            Dismay says that there is nothing I can do to resolve this situation.  Dismay takes God out of the equation.  We defeat dismay, by putting God back into the equation: “…I am your God.”

            God’s strengthening power is designed to take away our fear.  God’s divine assistance is designed to empower us to face our circumstances with confidence.  His almighty right hand is given to us to sustain us in our conflicts until victory is achieved.

            The right hand is the hand in which the warrior holds his sword.  The sword is his weapon of defense against his enemy.  It may be that your enemy is your circumstances.  The right hand of Jehovah God is at your disposal to keep you strong so long as you must contend against your circumstances.

            So replace your fear with faith, your dismay with confidence and go forth knowing that His Almighty Right Hand is there to uphold you.

Prayer: Lord, give us all faith to keep strong in our faith.  Don’t let discouragement bring dismay to our hearts.  Give us a spirit of confidence and hope.  And keep us constantly aware that You are with us and where You are, Your mighty right hand is there to sustain us.  We praise you in Jesus name.  Amen. 

 Rev. Ivan L. Schwenn, 2020-06-29