Summary: How to trust in God through difficult times
FACING YOUR FEARS
Dr. Jerome Frank was a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. He told the story that years ago he was flying across the US to attend a lecture. This was back in the 1960s before all of the modern security measures were installed at airports. He sat beside a man on a coast-to-coast flight who told him, "You know, I used to be deathly afraid of flying ever since that incident back in 1955.” In 1955 a guy called Jack Graham planted a bomb in his mother’s suitcase so he could claim the $37,000 of life insurance he had purchased for her. All 44 people on board that flight died. The man said “I could never get it out of my mind that someone on board one of my flights might also be carrying a bomb." Dr. Frank asked, "Well, how did you deal with that problem?" He replied, "Well, I went to one of those special schools for people who are afraid of flying and they told me there was only one chance in 10 thousand that someone would bring a bomb on board my flight. That didn't make me feel much better. The odds were still too close. But then I reasoned that if there was only one chance in 10 thousand that one bomb would be on the plane, there was only one chance in 100 million that two bombs would be on board. And I could live with those odds." Dr. Frank said, " I do not understand. What good would that do you?" He replied, "Ever since then, I carry a bomb on board with me -- just to improve the odds." It is amazing what people will do because of fear. For many fear rules their life.
These are interesting and unprecedented days that we are living in. I never thought I would see anything like this in my lifetime. So how do we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic that is all around us this morning. We respond in faith and not fear.
1 Sam 17:45 David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head.
Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands." 48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. 50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
In this passage, the nation of Israel faced and feared a giant. Their fear of Goliath kept them from seeing victory. Often fear does the same to us – it keeps us from seeing spiritual victory in our lives. We must learn to face our fears the same way David did.
1. FACE YOUR ENEMY – don't run from your problems
For 40 days the Israelites and Philistines had faced each other and every day at morning and evening Goliath had come out to taunt and ridicule the soldiers and their God. His effect on the army was clear:
1 Sam 17:11 On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
For 40 days this giant had ridiculed the soldiers. For 40 days his words rang in their ears and they imagined the very worst that could happen. The human mind is an amazing thing. Our minds can take us to the highest hopes or the deepest fears. What often happens in times like this is that our minds quickly take us to the worst possible scenarios. You walk into a grocery store to pick a few things up, and you see that there is no bread, no meat, no milk and no toilet paper. Now, you did not go into the store to purchase any of these things, but as soon as you see that they are not there you realize you must immediately have them. So you panic. What if you cannot find these things? What if they are never available again? What if you have to go into isolation for the next 3 months with nothing? Fear.