In the first post in our “Fear to Faith” series, “Apply Faith to Fear,” you learned 4 truths to grasp and a process to apply faith to any fear that you have. In the second post, “Face Trouble with Courage & Peace,” you learned that you can face any trouble with courage and peace by entrusting yourself and your loved ones to a God who loves you dearly. This is post #3 in “From Fear to Faith” blogs that cover why and how you can learn to trust God with your fears. In this blog, we’ll focus on Truths #2 and #3—God knows what is going on in your life and can do something about it. In this post, you will learn from the life of Sarah in the book of Genesis how God is bigger than your weaknesses.
Fear has a purpose.
Fear is a normal human emotion designed by God to alert us to danger so that we will take action against it.
Fear has a purpose. It’s not realistic to think we can live without fear. But we know fear has a dark side as well. It can take root in us and cause us to give way to panic and hysteria.
When we look at life just with our own eyes, we can easily become fearful, pessimistic, & negative. We think to ourselves, “Nothing’s going to work. I don’t know if I can get through this.”
This is especially true when we focus on our weaknesses.
Letting your weaknesses feed your fear
Weaknesses. Don’t those especially surface when something goes wrong? You know, things are not happening the way you planned or imagined.
Maybe you look at your life and only see weakness. You may feel helpless as a victim of circumstances. You may consistently dwell on your mistakes, replaying them in your mind. You may focus on your inadequacies, not being enough of…whatever. And, sadly, other people like to point out all those weaknesses in your life, too. That makes you feel even worse about them. Have you experienced that?
Jesus understands your weaknesses.
Our God calls us to live by faith. Faith involves trust in a God who loves us, who cares, who can guide us, and knows all about our weaknesses. The book of Hebrews says this to us:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Jesus understands your weaknesses because He has been tempted and tested in every way, just as you are. He experienced hunger, thirst, exhaustion, rejection, misunderstanding, and broken relationships. He knows all about every weakness that you experience. He sees everything. You can approach His throne of grace with confidence that you will receive mercy and help in your time of need from someone who understands every single one of your needs.
Paul wrote in Romans 8:26-29 that God helps you in your weakness and works for your good according to His purpose for you. That tells me that our God has bigger purposes for our weaknesses than what you and I see or know each step of the way.
God also knows what causes you fear. It doesn’t matter if your fear is driven by circumstances you can’t fix. It doesn’t matter if your fear comes from making mistakes. It doesn’t matter if your fear is caused by feelings of inadequacy. He knows it.
God loves you dearly. He knows what is going on in your life. He asks you to trust Him and His purpose when you don’t understand. God is bigger than anything that causes you fear. That includes all of the parts of your life that you consider to be your weaknesses.
God is bigger than your circumstances.
Let’s look first at circumstances. You need to realize and believe that God is bigger than your circumstances.
Circumstances are those conditions affecting your life that are beyond your control or ability to “fix.” That might include health problems, lack of income, bad relationships, or problems someone else caused.
Think of Sarah’s circumstances.
Now Sarah was childless because she was not able to conceive. (Genesis 11:30)
Her barrenness was out of her control. She didn’t do anything wrong. And, in her specific case, God had a bigger plan for her that depended on the right timing. She knew nothing about that. Sarah endured long periods of drought, which brought on the famine, which caused Abraham to go to Egypt to find grazing land for his herds.
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. … When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. (Genesis 12:11, 14-15)
Sarah ended up in Pharaoh’s harem. That famine wasn’t her fault. She didn’t do anything wrong to cause it. Yet, she suffered and thought she was protecting her husband’s life by going along with Abraham’s “tell them you’re my sister” advice.
You may be facing your own version of desperate circumstances—health problems, lack of income, bad relationships, or problems someone else caused. Having to face those circumstances leaves you with choices. You can become whiny and bitter. Or, you can depend upon God to get you through them. It is even likely that you would learn to see and appreciate God’s gifts to you in a greater way.
God is bigger than your circumstances. If He wasn’t, He wouldn’t be God.
God is bigger than your mistakes.
You can also know that God is bigger than your mistakes. I’m always making mistakes and second-guessing myself. Do you do that?
I think of mistakes as being of two kinds.
- First kind of mistake: Willfully going against clear Biblical guidance about what is right and wrong. When we do that, we usually figure out pretty quickly that it’s a mistake.
- Second kind of mistake: Attempting to “fix a problem” without clear Biblical guidance. When it doesn’t turn out as expected, I have a tendency to regret that decision as a “mistake.” Do you do that?
We can look at Sarah’s life in the book of Genesis. She made one gigantic mistake that’s recorded for everyone to know and point fingers at her (Genesis 16).
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. (Genesis 16:1-2)
Sarah took something acceptable from her culture and tried to use it to obtain the promise of God. She gave her servant Hagar to her husband Abraham in order to conceive an heir for him. That mistake had huge, painful consequences for everyone!
But God’s purpose wasn’t thwarted because of Sarah’s mistake.
Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:1-2, 6)
Sarah experienced God’s graciousness to her and gave birth to Isaac, the promised son. I bet everyone within earshot of Sarah for the rest of her life heard this marvelous story of God’s faithfulness to her.
What about those things not clearly defined as right and wrong in the Bible? That might include where you live, where you work, or where to invest money.
God has given you a mind to use for making decisions in those areas of life. Pray, ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit, get advice from other believers, check to see if it’s legal, then make the decision and act on it.
Life is daily. When we read the scriptures, we don’t see God telling the people what to do every minute of every day. Living by faith includes the whole process of trusting God while making a decision and trusting God with the results of it. It’s all about faith, not about being perfect. God is bigger than your mistakes. If He wasn’t, He wouldn’t be God.
God is bigger than your inadequacies.
To be “inadequate” means failing to reach an expected or required standard, to be insufficient and lacking
Now, some of us wallow in our inadequacies. God knows all about those things in which we feel insufficient or lacking. Just not enough. Sometimes, He leaves us to ourselves so we will recognize how insufficient we are without Him. Then, we’ll desire Him more. Have you noticed this in your life? I have in mine.
Sarah was inadequate in her barrenness. And I think she had lost hope. Have you ever lost hope? The angel of the Lord appeared and personally gave her the good news she would soon be a mother.
“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” (Genesis 18:9-10)
Sarah laughed, was confronted by the angel, became afraid and lied about her laughter (Genesis 18:12-15). But God didn’t zap her. Instead, He rejuvenated her body and filled it with the long-promised son. You can study Sarah’s life in the Everyday Women, Ever-Faithful God Bible Study.
Thankfully, God has compassion on our inadequacies. What do you feel is insufficient in your life? I’m not talking about material things right now, but where do you feel you lack as a person? Do you feel that you lack in your character or your abilities? I already know I make mistakes all the time. So, sometimes I feel inadequate to make decisions. God is bigger than your inadequacies. If He wasn’t, He wouldn’t be God.
Trust God with every weakness.
The apostle Paul knew he had dragged Christians to prison to be beaten and killed. But, he also knew that God was bigger than his past. The Holy Spirit inspired him to write these words:
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on… (Philippians 3:13)
Dear reader, stop responding to desperate circumstances with hysteria, or replaying mistakes over and over in your mind, or wallowing in your inadequacies. The question to ask now is this, “What are you going to do today to press on beyond your weakness?”
How will you trust God to get beyond circumstances you’re in? How will you trust God to move past mistakes you’ve made? How will you trust God with feelings of inadequacy that you have? How will you trust God now to show you the way to move beyond any weakness toward a new future?
The Holy Spirit through the apostle Peter gave us some special wisdom about this:
Do what is right and do not give way to fear. (1 Peter 3:6)
As you learn to trust God, you can count on these 4 truths that are not nullified by any of your weaknesses.
- God loves you.
- He knows what is going on in your life.
- He can do something about it.
- You can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!
Dear friends, we have a big God. He can take whatever is looking ugly in our lives and make it something praiseworthy. Maybe all that you’ve been through in life—desperate circumstances, blaring mistakes, and obvious inadequacies—have led to this moment when God has brought you to get this message so you can trust in Him. God is bigger than your weaknesses. He could be showing you that today on your walk from fear to faith.
In the next post, we’ll look at why we can trust God’s goodness.
The following Bible Studies and podcasts will give you more biblical insight into how to walk from fear to faith in your life.
- Everyday Women, Ever-Faithful God Bible Study on Amazon
- The Walk from Fear to Faith Bible Study on Amazon
- Satisfied Series 1 Podcasts (Old Testament women series)
- Old Testament Women: Connecting their stories with trusting God today
- Profiles of Perseverance Bible Study (Joseph, David, Elijah, and Nehemiah)
- Apply Faith to Your Fears
- “Applying Faith to Fear” bookmark
- Face Trouble with Courage and Peace-Mark 4:35-41
- Sarah: God Is Bigger Than Your Weaknesses
- Release Your Expectations of Acceptable Outcomes
- Trust God’s Goodness in Addressing Your Pain
- Esther: Two Aspects of Trusting God
- The Book of Ruth: Life Should Not Be Lived Alone
- Psalm 91: Rest in the Shadow of the Almighty
- 4 Lessons to Learn about God’s Provision
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