Back when I was in the Air Force, in Combat Comm, I had an attitude. Actually, I had several, but the one I am speaking of pertained to the prospect of facing the enemy. I tried to keep the attitude that I would never ever cower to whatever enemy I had the potential to be captured by. In fact, my attitude in readiness school was “Better to be dead than captured.” I didn’t, and still don’t fear death, per se. I don’t wish to die, but I am prepared. That has helped me tremendously with panic attacks, because I know if I am really dying, I won’t be terrified.
Prior to that, I have always had the apocalyptic account of the end times in the back of my mind, along with the “What if the rapture isn’t pre-tribulation?” My dad believed it to be mid-tribulation. I’ve read Revelation several times, and I can see either way. Now while I was pretty much taught mid, I was also taught to be prepared to go through the whole 7 years. So I have always tried to keep myself prepared to face all that comes with and end-tribulation rapture. Do not deny God. Do not deny Jesus. I know it would be difficult, but I don’t completely fear it. I know I have help in God if or when I am put in that kind of situation.
Matthew 10:28 (New American Standard Bible)
28″Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
But what about friends?
That put much more fear in me than any enemy. I feared possible ridicule more than death. I feared the accusations of hypocrisy. I feared not being able to stand up and profess my faith without shame. But really, why fear any of that? I’ve been ridiculed before, and it didn’t kill me. I had a couple of events in my life as a teen that were waaaayyyy worse than anything I could imagine my friends and co-workers might say to me. And what would it matter anyway?
Matthew 10:32-33 (New American Standard Bible)
32″Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.
33″But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
Well, today, I put my fear to the test, and my faith. See, I have prayed that I would have courage, but yet kept keeping my faith mostly hidden. How can I ask for courage and then avoid a situation that would require it? Well, I wanted to go over notes from a class I attended at church yesterday. With that also came reading through Luke 15 and 16. So, I took my notes and my study bible to work, and opened them up during lunch. One of the guys walked by and asked me what I was studying. So I told him, along with half the office. And before lunch was over, we all had quite a nice little theological discussion. Now I feel relieved that they know that I am trying to change how I act. I don’t want them to change how they act and talk because of me, and I tried to convey that to them, however. They aren’t my problem. I am my problem.
I learned over the weekend that I am not alone in my fear. Amazing what I learn when I listen. ;-) The more I study, the more I realize how little I know, and the more I want to study and learn. Not so I can boast in knowledge, but that I can walk the right path, and not be a stumbling block to anyone.