Where can we go if we are afraid? John Wesley learned a valuable lesson from the Moravians while on his missionary trip to America in 1736. A violent storm arose while they were at sea and the Moravians (German missionaries), instead of being fearful like the other passengers, simply sang. When Wesley later asked them what he had to do to have THAT kind of faith, the reply was a simple question, “Do you know Jesus Christ?” The difference in reactions on board that ship was one of faith. Wesley and his fellow travelers became paralyzed and hysterical because they didn’t know where to take their fears. The Moravians, on the other hand, knew they had to take their fear to their faith.
What scares you?
Spiders? Public speaking? Heights? Snakes? Disappointing your parents? Losing your temper? Losing your independence? In 2019, according to the Chapman University survey, the number one fear was corrupt government officials, followed by pollution and loved ones getting ill, which is probably higher on the fear scale since then. Fear can paralyze us like the person afraid to leave his porch because of the pandemic, or it can motivate us into action surrounding things like racial justice or writing thank you notes to our essential workers. The only difference between being paralyzed and motivated is simply knowing what to do with that fear. As the Moravians demonstrated, faith gives us a place to take our fear.
Tradition can help
We certainly have much to fear today, so how do we begin to take our fear toward our faith? One was is through tradition. The Moravians leaned reacted to their physical fear by leaning on the words of the Psalms and faith-building hymns. Leaning into tradition reminds us that other have walked this path and survived. They have survived the “valley of the shadow of death” with courage and strength and emerged victorious on the other side.
The only difference between being paralyzed and motivated is simply knowing what to do with that fear. As the Moravians demonstrated, faith gives us a place to take our fear.
Better than Google!
God knows what we are facing and what we need even before WE know that we are in trouble. Advice from others can offer man’s wisdom in a broken world and what worked for someone else may not work for you. But consulting the Creator and praying for His direction has proven much for fruitful than Google ever has because God NEVER LETS GO—no matter what. As Peter tells us in today’s scripture:
Where indeed can we go, but to the Lord?