I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately. I have many fears. I fear the unknown; I fear the known, sometimes. I fear for my son; I fear for my husband. These are just a few, and I know that they are ultimately unfounded. Probably the thing I fear most is change! I struggle with that one a lot!
One of the things that I used to fear that I feel God has given me the power to overcome is going on mission trips. I’m not saying that I still don’t experience some anxieties about going, but overall, I am confident when I go.
My point in this post is for those people who (and I’m not judging) allow fear to keep them from participating in a foreign (or sometimes local) mission trip. I hear people say all the time, “I can’t go on a foreign mission trip because…”
“I’m afraid to fly.” – Really? SO AM I! I absolutely despise airplanes and flying in them. In fact, I have such a fear of flying that my heart begins to race and my palms get sweaty when I go to the airport to drop someone else off or pick them up. It’s crazy, I know, but for some reason, flying scares me to death. But we can’t let that stop us from doing what God has called us to do. And ultimately, He has called us to go. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” God has commanded us to go. I believe that means everyone! I don’t think this passage is speaking just to those “called” to missions, but to all believers. What I’m saying is that God will give you the strength to overcome the fear of flying or the capacity to help you deal with it if you commit to go. (And while I don’t believe that we should take drugs for everything, there are some great anxiety medications that can be prescribed by your doctor to help with the fear you may have of flying).
“I don’t have the money.” – Again, really? This is God we are talking about. Doesn’t scripture tell us He OWNS everything? If we truly believe that, we have no reason to allow the fear of not having enough money stop us from going on a mission trip. Again, I’m not judging. I have been in your shoes! I consider myself a tight-wad, and I don’t like to spend money. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the things I worry about on a regular basis. But through my experience, I have learned that God does and will provide. I have been to Brazil and to Guatemala 3 times. In each instance, God provided the funds needed for me to go. I prayed, asked for donations from others, and trusted that God would give me what I needed to be able to go. Each time He did! Two of the times I went to Guatemala my husband and son were going as well. Not only did I have to trust God to provide enough funds for me, I had to trust that He would provide for them as well. Thanks to the generosity of His people we were able to raise what was needed.
“I don’t like seeing people and how they look; it’s too hard.” – This one has always been a tough one for me. Have you ever heard the word “germaphobe”? I think I created it! I can’t stand for my hands or feet to be dirty. I fear getting sick or touching people who have scratches or scabs on them. I constantly use germ gel (even here in the US). It is very difficult to see how people in third world countries live and to process that. Many questions come to mind, like “why did these people end up living here and I was born in the US with all its riches?” It’s hard to see babies trying to eat lunch with flies landing on their food and face. It’s not easy, but it’s not supposed to be. Again, God called us to care for the poor, the orphans, the widows. We can see scriptures from the old and new testaments that point to us caring for the poor and needy, for those without hope. We have to get out of our comfort zones and go to the hard places to carry the hope of the Gospel to these people.
“What if something happens to me?” – Well, I struggle with that one, too. But what I’ve come to realize is that “something” can happen to me as I type this post. We are not promised tomorrow because we are not in charge of our lives. God is in full control and has our paths planned according to His perfect will. Whether we are in our homes in America or in the jungles of Africa, “something” COULD happen at any moment in time. It’s a scary thought, but we can’t let that fear stop us from obeying God.
“I can’t leave my family.” – One of the most difficult things I have ever done was board a plane to Brazil and leave my husband here. I cried, and cried, and cried. And when we missed our flight back to the US and had to stay in Brazil another day and night, I cried again. But it gave me a greater appreciation and love for my husband. When my husband and I left for Guatemala in October 2010, I was distraught over leaving our 5 year old behind. It overwhelmed me to think that I was so far away from him. But he survived and so did we!
I think I could continue to list reasons or fears that hold us back from doing what God has commanded us to do, but I won’t. The bottom line is that we must be obedient to do what He has told us to, fear or no fear. We have to trust that He will comfort us, that He will provide for us, that He will take away the fears that we have – if we are obedient to Him!
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