The following is a guest post by Vince Ward, former missionary to South Sudan, author of Pursuit of Glory, and Adjunct Professor of Missions at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. This article originally appeared on the Reformed Presbyterian Global Missions site.
Have you ever asked yourself a “what if” question as you think about the unknowns of the future?
What if we run out of money?…
What if one of our children turns against God or dies of sickness?…
What if we are attacked?…
What if there is no fruit to our work?
We can come up with many “what ifs” relating to all the unknowns in our future. They can paralyze us with fear and keep us from moving forward in faith.
Think about all the fears you have about the future. Are they based on contingencies and possibilities of things happening which you dread?
There may be real anxieties which you carry around and are reinforced in your nightmares.
When I anticipated a life in South Sudan, I dreaded the deadly snakes or dying of dysentery.
Often people preparing for service on a foreign field are plagued with perceived threats of the “unknowns”.
“What if . . . ?” That is a good question.
What if your worst fears do come true? Does that lead to your undoing? Is God not able to see you through?
Consider how your fears could forfeit the joy of fulfilled promises from God. Could your fears prevent you from walking by faith in the good promises he extends to you?
Take for example the Israelite spies (Numbers 14 & 15). They witnessed that indeed the promised land did flow with milk and honey. However, they feared that the people living there would be too strong for Israel to defeat. Because of fear, they were ready to forfeit their inheritance of the promised land.
Caleb and Joshua conquered their fears and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are able to overcome it.”
What was the difference?
The ten spies quaked in fear. “What if we are destroyed in battle by these giants?” Caleb and Joshua, on the other hand, conquered their fear, confident that when they would face the giants they would destroy them because the Lord would be with them.
Yes, our worst fears may come true, but does that keep us from going or sending people to unknown lands and people?
Since the Lord has made his will known that we are to go to all the nations, whatever the unknowns, we can have faith that he will overcome our fears.
Abraham “went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). If God calls the church to go to foreign places and people, we can trust the God of Abraham to lead us.
Since God has shown, in his providence, that he has gone ahead, we can follow wherever he goes.
We can cast all our fears upon him because he cares for us and will carry us through every trial and temptation. As Charles Spurgeon said,
Through flood and flames, if Jesus lead, I’ll follow where he goes.
What are the “what ifs” keeping you from stepping out into the unknowns and walking by faith?
Know he will be with you wherever you go.