For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
Power – Mike Yaconelli calls it “happy terror.” He suggests that when we follow Jesus, it is thrilling and terrifying at the same time. His comment is insightful. Did you think that God’s gift of power (dynamis) removes your fear? Nope! Life is still terrifying. Bad things can still happen. You are still not in control. God’s power does not change the structure of consequences in the fallen world. Power does not replace fear. Power overcomes fear. The fearfulness that resides in my soul is simply part of the human condition. As long as I am in this world, I will experience fear. But, as Jesus said, “Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”
My Twelve-Step friends remind me that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. That’s what I need to know. The feeling of fear is real, but the evidence that supports the fear is false. I really feel it, but it has no substantial reality to it. Why? Because God loves me. Therefore, He gives me the power to overcome my fear. The thrill is knowing that God always arrives on time. The terror is in not knowing how He will arrive. Life with God is blessed uncertainty.
When I abandon my life to Jesus, I opt for unanticipated surprises. Oh, that doesn’t mean that my life will always be in the eggbeater. Life still has its general orderliness as a result of God’s common grace. God still sends the rain on the just and the unjust. The sun still comes up in the morning. But abandonment to Jesus means that I let go of my expectation of orderliness. I am not surprised when the eggbeater takes over. In fact, because God promises power to overcome, I look forward to the moments of blessed chaos as opportunities to see what God will do next. Now you know why James can say, “Count it joy when . . .” We couldn’t possible count trials and tribulations as joyful unless we knew God’s power is peeking around the corner.
Think of it from a Hebrew perspective. Genesis tells me God loves His creation. Exodus tells me God is in control of history. Leviticus tells me God provides for my guilt. Numbers tells me God guides my choices. Deuteronomy tells me God rewards my obedience. All the rest tells me that I can’t manage on my own and that following Him is the only sane thing to do. Then Jesus comes to tell me that He will never leave me, that He has overcome my enemy and that I can join Him to fulfill God’s mission. What else is there to worry about?
False evidence confuses my perception of reality. That’s why I can’t trust myself. When God says that He gives me His power to overcome my cowardice and apprehension, it’s the truth. But it’s not my power. It’s God’s gift. It arrives with His blessing bearing the hallmarks of His character. It’s dynamite in the hands of the follower of the Way, able to clear all kinds of barricades and obstacles. But it only works according to His character, as the next two words will show.
Life in the eggbeater is the perfect place to light a fuse.