Fear or Faith?
By Fred Pruitt
(Updated and revised from “The Torment of Fear,” originally published May 17, 2012, with a new addendum. This was written, obviously, before our current time, before today’s “issues” had come to the forefront, but I believe what is written here is completely applicable to our present day situation.)
A friend sent me the following email:
I know I just emailed you earlier but since then I’ve talked with my friend about your “Cry’in Time article”. She is concerned about preparation for what she fears is happening to our country and wonders if we are to just sit like “dummies” or if we are to make preparation for our money, food, etc. in case of disaster. You have been talking from a Heavenly aspect which I explained but she wondered why you didn’t talk about this subject. I tried to explain about where our minds are to be focused but she is still in fear. Are you, as a Christian preparing in any such way for the possible economic decline ahead or do you just trust the Lord and do nothing?
(Before I share my reply, I wanted to talk briefly about the “predictions” by many that the world, especially perhaps the USA in particular, is going to be having great difficulties on a cataclysmic scale in the near future. The predictions range from Armageddon and the physical return of Jesus, or crack-up due to natural disasters such as pole-shifts, global warming, or mass economic failures bringing about a greater “depression” than the world experienced in the 1930s, which would in turn threaten all sitting governments since they couldn’t control the decline, so that it leads to the mass breakdown of orderly society, anarchy and the like. And so on and so on. I’m not immune from consideration of some of these things, and from the standpoint of human society and the future of it, it can look pretty grim from where I sit.
(At the same time, however, I am not without hope. I have no clear picture of what is to come. Many people are expecting cataclysmic events, and who knows, some of them may happen. There are many points of view of the status of the world today and the human society that populates it. But I still hope in the Lord God! I am not ready to throw in the towel for the human race, in its current state. It is clear to me in scripture and by the Spirit, that God has a plan, but its times and implementations remain in the Father, until such time as He reveals and enacts them.
(Until then, He said, “Occupy until I come.” (Lk 19:13). That means to me we live to the fullest in the current moment. It means that “to live is Christ.” It means that as long as the world stands, and I have breath in my body and the Spirit to move me, that I would plead to the Lord for the world that He not destroy it, at least for the sake of the righteous who are still in it. As Abraham pleaded for Sodom down to its last hope, for the Lord agreed with Abraham, that He would not destroy it for the sake of ten righteous who could be found in it. [Gen 18: 23-33]. But outside the family of Lot, there were no others found righteous there, and Lot and his family were taken out and destruction came to Sodom and Gomorrah, for their sins had filled up and “reached unto heaven.”
(While on the one hand I expectantly and joyfully say, “Maranatha, even so, Come, Lord Jesus!,” and by His grace am ready any time the trumpet blasts, still on the other hand I say, “O Lord, delay your coming, that we may invite many more guests to your Great Feast. There may yet be the hundreds, the thousands, the millions for the harvest. Did not Jesus say, ‘Look up, and see that the fields are white for the harvest. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He send forth laborers to reap.’” [Jn 4: 35-39]. The rest of what it means to me is in the reply below.)
To answer your question, am I preparing for economic decline, no, I am not. We each do as we are led or believe we are led. My living comes to me as the Lord provides. It is the same for us all. By God’s call, I have been well exercised as to where my daily living comes from, and if and when such calamaties come, I trust in the Lord’s supply then, in exactly the same way I trust in the Lord’s supply now. That kind of provision belongs to all the children of God, not just those who live like we do. EVERY person who calls upon the Father He hears, and will send provision and rescue. Where would we think there is any security in anything whatsoever, outside of the security and provision of God?
How would one prepare for these possible calamaties? Stockpile food, water, weapons for self-defense? Or hoard gold or silver, some precious commodity that can be traded in the marketplace for goods and services? Certainly not the stock market, which is as fickle as a teenage girl. If we stockpile, how much would be enough? Would we be prepared to “defend” our stockpile, in case others who did not stockpile hear that we have it and come looking to take it?
That’s why I live free. In Christ, we have all things, because we possess nothing (2 Cor 6:10). Now, I’m not talking about being a monk or a communist or something like that. I just mean that since our lives are not our own, but bought with the price of the precious blood of Jesus, it follows that all that we “have” belongs to Him also, and we further recognize that all comes from Him as His daily sustenance. Everything we have is a gift from the Lord. That goes for everyone and everything.
Now, if our primary concerns are about losing our possessions, lands, houses, cars, etc., then it will be hard for us to trust God for His supply. It is an absolute with me – if God does not supply, I don’t live. It is that way with everyone, but they just don’t know it for the most part. It is God Who supplies us with a good job, benefits, etc., and if it should so be that the good job is eliminated so that we can no longer have the “lifestyle” we were accustomed to, then we learn God’s adequacy and His gifts in that. I am not saying these things will happen, but even if they do, who are we? For what purpose have we been born? “Seek ye first the kingdom, and all these things shall be added unto you!” To what end?
Let me be plain. This is not about protecting ourselves against loss and hardship (or even persecution, torture and death for some right now in this world). This is about the salvation of the world. “God so loved the world that He GAVE His Son …” And in Him, rather than being just “beneficiaries” of what He has done, we find we are now participants with Him in His current purposes. Living unto Him only, simply means that in our, “not I but Christ” life, we are joined in oneness with Him in His Lamb’s purpose, which is to “give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt 10:45). We participate in that, too. It is Who He is and likewise in Him it is Who we are!
To realize that is the Life we have received from the Father, a life which loves so ardently and purely the Father and the Son, is to “know” this same Lamb’s life. We are joined with Him in His purposes, which is not self-protecting itself, but self-giving-itself, which is the new self in Christ, which we ARE, if we are in Christ.
So questions of what will we eat and where will we live are always answered in Him. He feeds the sparrows, and knows when each of them fall to the earth and die. He knows how many hairs are on our heads! He arrays the lilies of the fields, “which neither toils nor spins,” how much more will He clothe and feed us, His flock, for as He said, we “are of more value than many sparrows”? (Matt 10: 29-30)
I know a lot of people are living in fear these days. I am sure that has been the case for a long, long time.
Well, we all fear. It just comes up and seizes us sometimes. It can be about anything.
But we do not have to live in the things we fear. In a sense, the more we “fear” a thing, the more life we give it. We battle it and it battles us back.
We can speak “reason” to the fear, as if that will calm it, but fear of this type is irrational. (As opposed to a “rational” fear of a grizzly bear!). It has no foundation except itself and what it has imagined and can’t see out of its imagination. So what to do?
Of course there is always nothing else to do but to press into God in these things. This is not meant to be a “teaching” that you can apply. It won’t work. This only “works” because it is God Who works it. And no human person can cause or make the final divine connection inside the being of another. That is sacred ground, Spirit to spirit, and this we leave solely to the Holy Spirit as the final full Teacher. The “answer” to tormenting fear is in each of us.
In my own life, fear dominated my conscious daily life for many years. I kept saying, “Perfect love casts out fear,” but it did not seem to go away. I heard a line in a Tom Petty song, “Most things I worry about, never happen anyway,” and I thought, yep, that’s me. But even though most imagined things did not happen, knowing that did nothing to ease the fears that surrounded me.
To combat it, I tried to have no fears. Job said, “that which I feared most has come upon me,” (Job 3: 25,26). and I thought, “Oh, I see, all I have to do is have no fears, then “what I fear most will not come upon me.” (I did not see the irony in my reasoning at the time.) Anyway, eradicate fear – how do you do it?
You can say, “He’s done it,” but what if it doesn’t go away?
As it so happened in some of those years, quite a few of the things I feared came upon us, and some I hadn’t even thought of. And that’s when I began to see it, what this “fear” thing is about. Things I “feared most” came upon me, and not only did I survive, but had the unexpected reward of the riches of Christ which reside in Him, yet here is this increase in me! All that “fearing” all those years had been to this purpose, to know* that He was greater still than them all, and through that exercise of the Spirit, we learn and know* we can trust Him in all things, are content in Him in all things, because we “know”* the Love of the Father and the Son. This is the Love that casts out fear. If we know* the Love then we can believe in His love purposes in all things in our lives, even things brought with evil intent by man or devil. *(This “know” means “mixed with as one,” as in “Adam “knew” Eve his wife, and they became one flesh.” [Gen 2:24].)
In answer to the other phrase in your question, “and do nothing,” it seems like right now is a good time to bring it up. Understand, “content” in all things, does not negate action or activity. There are always many things working in us in the kingdom of God simultaneously, most of which we have no idea of what part we are playing. So, on the one hand, while we are learning, “I do nothing of myself,” we simultaneously may be in another arena of our lives, an arena which requires action and activity – results!
Can the these two things work simultaneously? When I say I “don’t prepare” for the future possible calamities, understand, I am really not talking about my business in the world, but according to the Spirit. We are alike in the Spirit, and each led by the Spirit, and I am certain that the Spirit is using it all, whatever “preparations” any of us make for those possibilities, or lack of preparations. I am not talking necessarily about what we do physically, in the necessary business of the world, but rather “where is our heart?” (Matt 6: 19-21).
We are all His, and thus led individually by Him. I trust Him in all of us. He is our safe passage across life. There is no other. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (Jn 14:6).
To another in the same vein –
…. it is not about “what” you are doing, but that there seems to be a lot of fear in with it. When I wrote that to you, I had no particular “message” in mind except what I wrote. But now that you’ve brought it up, it was the fear of the future, or a possible future, that on the surface was stirring the pot, it seemed to me. I’m not trying to drum up something that is not there, so if I am off base, I don’t claim infallibility anyway, but there you are.
I do not know what the future is bringing regarding our current earth and our country. I hear a lot of people forecasting doom and maybe they’re right, maybe they’re not. Frankly, I pay it little mind. Please believe me, I am not in any way being critical of the practical steps you are taking with your house and finance. I think it is a very wise thing to do, for one thing, and for another, I very very rarely try to give people “advice” on how they conduct their affairs. Not my business. I am only concerned one might say with the “faith” aspect.
And that was my only concern. When I say I “pay it little mind,” it is not that I am unaffected or inattentive to what is going on in the world. I am as “affected” by it as anyone else. But also, long ago the Lord taught me that He is my supply in everything (this has nothing to do with what a person “does for a living” because any provision that way is of course the Lord’s!), and that should everything around me be falling apart at the seams, I have taken it to be a personal word of God to me, to claim God’s promises to David to be my own, since David represents Christ and all God’s promises are to Christ, so that we are each equal participants in all the promises — I take all of Psalm 18, all of Psalm 91, especially 7: “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.”
And a hundred more like those. What I am meaning by bringing up these scriptures, is that when we see that we are living by the Life of the Spirit within us, then we see that God is proactive in us. We are not living lives of reaction to the daily things going on in our worlds. That would be a purely flesh existence.
Our lives originate in heaven. Though it seems that way (that our lives are always reactionary to the circumstances we face), it is really the opposite. Our lives are the stimulus going out into the world for the world (i.e., the people in it), and they are reacting to us, rather than us to them, because out of us is the outflow of Christ and the love of God. We are instigators of life rather than some sort of defenders of ourselves or worrying about any type of “evil” that might befall us.
The “rain” falls on the just and the unjust the same, so we weather the same things the world weathers, with the difference that we have discovered the house built upon the rock which cannot fall, and most around us have built their houses on sand, i.e., the temporal world, and ultimately they can feel nothing but fear as they feel the sand running out from beneath them. We may even be surrounded appearance-wise by the same sand surrounding those others, but under our appearance of sand we find solid ground.
And let me also say this about those who currently have sand houses: they have them that they might fail, for the purpose of finding the True Rock underneath. We have all had sand houses, but our houses are not sand anymore. All our sand houses fell and that spurred us on to find the permanent house, “a city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb 11:10)
Here’s the sum of it, and I know you know this, because this is you!
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. ” (Ps 27)
I know times are hard now for many. But they are working in us an exceeding eternal weight of glory! So even in a time of possible privation or anything else, we are still living in the peace, rest, and joy of the Lord! Nothing is too hard for the Lord.