God listens to our Fears

This morning I woke up to reflect on the Word of God. The moments are rare not because I do not want to but because the bed is usually too warm, the floor too cold and the time too early. Ha!

Samuel spoke to me this morning, specifically 1 Samuel: 16.  Here, I encounter the Almighty God coming down to deal with the fear expressed by His servant in a real and personal manner. I catch a glimpse of the loving kindness of God displayed in the weighty matter of obedience despite the potential risk to body, limb and life expressed by His friend.

God sought Samuel as he was grieved over the rejection of Saul as King and sent him out to anoint the king’s successor. This was not an easy task. In fact hearing Samuel articulate it, it was a downright dangerous and life-threatening assignment as the king controlled the power and the people. As we know all too well from our African experience, any attempt to reassign power may result in death and great loss.

Samuel was not an ordinary man sent to do a difficult task. He was the last prophet in Israel who held the office of Prophet, Priest and King (leader of his people). After him, no one else till Jesus held the three offices simultaneously. He was a man who God called with an audible clear voice as he slept, not once or twice but three times. His call was sure. His life was exemplary. His ministry and leadership characterized by wisdom and indeed all of Israel knew that in Samuel was one whose word could be trusted, and whose sacrifices were acceptable before the Lord. So how could someone like this experience fear in obeying God’s command?

Verse 2 tells us differently. Samuel asks God how he could go and anoint a replacement as Saul would hear of it and kill him. He was afraid of going to Bethlehem lest he lost his life there. He wanted to obey God but was troubled by that age old question – What if this means the end for me and life as I know it? What if I die obeying your command? What a comfort that is to me, to know that greater men than me have struggled with the issues that I face every single day.  How liberating to know that even those who hear instructions from God’s very voice;  battle fear of loss, unknown and the cost of obedience just as I do. However, unlike me and most of us; Samuel told God about his fear. He spoke about it candidly. He lay his fear at the Lord’s feet and waited for a response.

In verse three we see the most amazing response from God himself no less. God inclined his ear to Samuel’s fear. He stopped his important business of anointing the King of Israel long enough to hear his servant’s cry and need for reassurance. The Lord listens to his fear and gives him a solution. He does not rescind his instructions. He does not allow him to cop out of obeying His will. He does not allow him to allow the fear of what could be to overcome him. Instead He gives him a way out. The Lord tells him to take a heifer and go under the pretext of offering a sacrifice to Him in the place where David lived.

Our Almighty, All powerful and All-knowing God understands that fear to us is real. He understands the weight of it and how it can prevent us from moving forward. He helps us deal with it, wisely and quietly. Where it would cripple us, He lovingly gives us a way out. Where it would overwhelm us, He provides reassurance that it will be well.  We later on find out that Samuel went on to achieve his task. He anointed the next King.

Today, I struggle with my fear of the unknown. The fear of stepping out into the deep unknown waters that the Lord calls me to and I know I am not alone. Many struggle too. You hate your job and God has been sending you to serve Him and yet … your fear of failure keeps you back. You hate where you are, the helplessness you feel at the direction your life is taking and long to change it.  Today I pray that we would listen like Samuel for God’s response and allow Him to show the way out. The way to obedience and the freedom that comes with it.

He is speaking.. somehow He will make that way. I choose to believe that.

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