"Some people pray for God to remove the burdens from their backs. Others pray for stronger backs to bear their burdens."
I can't remember where I first read that quote, but it has stuck with me for years. I remember that the author was making a point about American Christianity: Somehow we've gotten the idea that scary, difficult circumstances are the exception in life, and that if things are tough, we should just pray until God takes away the hardship. But nowhere in Scripture are we promised a pain-free existence in this world. In fact, we're promised the opposite: John 16:33, In this world you WILL have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. In those words, spoken the night before Jesus went to the cross (for us, by the way), He promised us that we could overcome our troubles by His power.
So what are you afraid of right now? Is it poor health, a financial setback, or the possible end of a relationship? Is there anything you know God wants you to do, but you're holding back because you're afraid of how it will change your life? The most frequently repeated command in the Bible is "Fear not." It doesn't mean God will take all the scary stuff out of our world. But it does mean He can give us courage to overcome our fears and accomplish His will. This Sunday, we'll look at how fear kept God's people from accomplishing His plan, and from enjoying the blessing He had planned for them. And we'll also look at the courageous people who finally overcame that fear.