El Paso: Last week I had the opportunity to spend the day in Juarez working with various Christian ministries. My plan was to cross the border around 8:00 a.m. and to cross back into the U.S. at 10:30 p.m. Even though I had been into Juarez on a couple of other occasions this was going to be my first full day in the city.
Since I live in El Paso, I know all too well the stories about the violence in Juarez. Sadly the reports of the grisly murders and abductions have become commonplace. That is until you plan to enter the city. It is much like the old adage, “A minor surgery is always a surgery on someone else!”
I must confess the night before going into the city I tossed and turned. I knew I was going to go. I was confident the Lord was going to take care of me. I knew it was very important for me to join with my brothers and sisters in their struggles to advance the Kingdom against all odds, but in my flesh I struggled.
I was reminded of a big lesson last week–face your fears and trust the Lord. For years one of my fall back verses is the prayer of the psalmist:
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you!”
There is nothing wrong with being afraid. We are all human and frail. Acknowledging your fears is healthy. However, as a leader it is critical that you face your fears in faith. The kingdom of God is advance by those who learn to put their trust in God!
I enjoyed an amazing day of ministry. Even though I went to Juarez to be a blessing I returned with the greater blessing. I was blessed by the faith and courage of the seminary students who stepped into the fire to be trained and tempered for service. I was blessed by the teenage boys and girls at the orphanage where I shared a meal and spent the afternoon. I was blessed by the pastors and people of all denominations who gathered to worship and to plan on how to take back their city.
The next day after my return I was reading these words of Peter, who knew far better than I the high cost of following Jesus. Peter wrote:
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed……
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
(I Peter 4:12-13, 19 NIV)
Simply put during times of testing and trial, our “faithful Creator” has called us to “commit” ourselves to Him, and to “continue to DO GOOD.” In a world filled with violence and evil, it is critical that we step up and do good–even when we are afraid.