“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it. Cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
God loves me too much to let me run away from my fears. In Genesis chapter 16, Hagar, Sarai’s pregnant and mistreated servant, tried to run away from her difficult situation, but the Lord wouldn’t let her. In His kindness, the angel of the Lord found her and asked: “Where have you come from?” “Where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8)
Hagar replied she was running away from her mistress Sarai. Instead of comforting her or validating the pain she experienced, God told her to return to her mistress and submit to her. Then the angel added a promise in verse ten, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.”
I love how in this passage God is known as El Roi, the God who sees. He sees Hagar and how she’s been mistreated by her mistress. He knows her name and her identity. He cares about her past, where she’s come from, and He cares about her future, where she’s going. But He didn’t want her to run away from her problems; He wanted her to face them.
So often the Lord asks me to reflect on my past, where I’ve come from. He wants me to see His faithfulness in the good, the bad, and the ugly, and to acknowledge how He’s redeemed the yuck in my life for His glory. God also holds me accountable by asking where I’m headed. He wants to know if I’m pursuing the destiny He has set before me.
I’m so grateful God sees me and my current circumstances, and that He knows my name and my identity, who I am and who He has created me to be. I’m thankful He holds me accountable and is concerned about my past and my future. I’m appreciative that He cares enough to not let me run away from my fears, but instead, He holds my hand and helps me to return and face them head on. He reminds me that when I face my fears, freedom is found.
No matter how tempting it is to run away, I realize running away gets me nowhere. I am most liberated when I look fear in the eyes. It may be uncomfortable at first, but if we submit to and obey God, we will find His presence, freedom from fear, and His promises fulfilled.
“The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us.”
What fear is God asking you to face? What steps can you take toward that this week?
Spend time thanking God for His faithfulness in your past, present, and future.