"Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor the onslaught of the wicked, when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught." Proverbs 3:25-26
"Man's extremity is God's opportunity." George Whitefield
"Do not be afraid of sudden fear..." What a simple and yet profound statement. Sudden fear...For crying out loud, is there any other kind? Fear confronts us all with the options of fight or flight. In spite of the "NO FEAR HERE" warning label on the package, the adrenaline starts pumping through our veins, and our heart starts pounding when God's unexpected "opportunity" slams into our "extremity."
Don't get me wrong. When the scary spectre of death, destruction OR destiny jumps out of the dark and stares us in the face, fear is generated. God sometimes wraps His greatest gifts in the scariest packaging, and ties them together with the strangest ribbon. Prayer is God's way for His children to bring what He gives to them back to Him, so He can make sense out of it for them.
The couple on the road to Emmaus, apparently witnessed the crucifixion of their friend, Jesus. However, it did not increase their faith, it confused them. Their traumatic experience blinded them from seeing The Risen Christ. They just couldn't make sense out of what they had seen happen to someone they loved so much. When Jesus approached them on the road, He asked them what they were talking about, and He received a full dose of Semitic sarcasm. "Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem, and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?" Luke 24:18
Rather than react in kind, Jesus provided the classic response to them and to anyone else who is ever overwhelmed by death and destruction and in doubt about their destiny and deliverance. He answers their question with a question. "What things?" Luke 24:19
Jesus gave these two people the greatest invitation ever been extended to people confronted by F.E.A.R. The real truth is this...False Expectations Appear Real. It takes the Person of Jesus to walk people through their fear, and to make sense out of what they don't understand by pointing them to the Word of God. "What things?" is still the question Jesus is asking His followers to answer. He lives to make intercession for them. His mission in life is to sit at the right hand of the Father, receive the prayers of His Church and lift up their requests to His Father for them. Talking about fears does not make them go away. Praying about fears places them in the hands of the only One who can turn the IMPOSSIBLE into the HIMPOSSIBLE.
"Nor the onslaught of the wicked..." There are enemies in the physical and the spiritual realm that do not wish the people of God well. They are dedicated to the mission of an ancient adversary who existsts to steal, kill and destroy. Christ followers are not immune from the attacks of those who sought to kill the Founder of The Church. Prayer is the means by which the people of faith seek the direction, correction and protection of their Champion, Jesus Christ. Talking about their extremity caused the couple on the road to Emmaus to miss the opportunity to see Jesus in the middle of their dilemma. Prayer seeks the face of God, and calms the hearts of His children. Talk expands the extremity in the eyes of His children and blinds them from the Presence of His Son seated at His right hand, available to do what they need done the most. What to do? TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!
"When it comes." It is not a matter of if, but when some frightening extremity will step out of the dark and shout, "Boo!" When it jumps out, it always comes as a surprise. In spite of the warning from God's word, the adrenaline starts pumpling, releasing energy to run, but not always the wisdom to choose the right road. Jesus warned His disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before He was crucified, "Pray that you may not enter not into temptation." Luke 22:40
Entering into temptation in a prayerless condition is disobedience to the Word of God, and it is disrespectul to The Person of Jesus Christ. Delayed praying misses God's opportunity, and prolongs our extremity. What to do? TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!
So herein lies the lesson. If you feel you are caught in a trap, check your mouth. Feeling caught and being caught are two different things. Prayer enables you to catch yourself before you fall into the trap of talking and discussing what you fear the most. Don't fail to pray to the Lord. He is the Source of your confidence. Only Jesus can make sense out of what you fear, real or imagined. Sudden fear may often be self-inflicted. Fear that is self-inflicted can also be self-deflected by praying as soon as it shows its frightening face. You may be pleasantly surprised that by shutting your own trap you won't be prone to falling into Satan's trap. Prayer may be your first step out of the darkness of doubt and fear. Prayer allows you to hear the sound of sandled footsteps walking right beside you through some of the scariest extremities life can bring. Jesus is the Great Intercessor. He is still saying to His followers, "What things?" What are you saying to Him? TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!