Author's note: This is a short speech prepared for delivering in conjunction with the inspirational documentary, "I Will Not Fear." The first time I delivered the speech was at the Southern Adventist University premiere of the short film (pictured above).
Everyone says to trust. Everyone says to believe. Everyone says to have faith. You have those instances where it falls apart or it doesn’t go as planned or it simply just doesn’t line up the way it was supposed to.
Or perhaps he disappoints, or she leaves, or there is a sudden and unplanned separation…death perhaps.
Finances get messy.
Emotions kill you.
Or your own body and mind work against you.
And in those moments, that well-meaning but thoroughly off friend or acquaintance comes to you and pastors you:
You know, have you been praying? Have you been reading your Bible? I’ve found that when I just cling to Jeremiah 29:11—I can have peace.
And although they may not be trying to say this, often the message is, You’re not trying enough and need to try harder to have faith; but you really are so this only discourages and confuses and
Angers you a little,
Because what more are you supposed to do…?
It is in these moments that the natural, honest, and human response is to go to that secret place and say,
God, you say this and you promise that, and your apostles wrote about endurance, but why do your promises seem to fail?
There is no defiance.
There is only inquisition.
Because in the Bible there is written, All promises are ‘Yes’ in Him, and the Amen is glorified through us.
All are yes?
How can that be?
How can that be reconciled with the sticky, messy, and unglamorous situations we experience?
Recently, I was watching a TED Talk about power poses, weakness poses, and the effects they have on emotional states.
The researcher’s findings demonstrated that when people did power poses, they had higher self-esteem and confidence levels. Conversely, those who held a position of weakness for five minutes reflected lower self-esteem and confidence levels. A fascinating study that leads us to the ultimate question: what would happen if I held a Kanye West pose for five minutes?
Would the universe explode from too much egotism?
Would his ego radar tingle as he sensed an equal?
And more importantly, how would Kim Kardashian recognize her one true ego-love?
C.S. Lewis, in Screwtape Letters, has a mentoring demon write to his mentee:
Keep him off his knees. His prayers won’t be as effective. Humans forget that what they do with their bodies affects what they think.
Thirty years later, TED talks agreed with old Jack.
It is natural for us to feel and then act.
But it’s very true that we can act and then feel.
There was this ancient community that was struggling under difficult situations. They were experiencing pressures and persecutions. Some were leaving or compromising their involvement in the Jesus movement.
Some had stopped gathering.
A letter was written to them; we call it the Book of Hebrews. In this letter, the author invites the community to remember their Lord Jesus who is taking care of them in an unprecedented way. Jesus is a better mediator, a better savior, a better priest, a better everything—including speaker of better promises.
The author reminds the readers of all that they have already gone through and reminds them that the just move by faith. The readers are walked through history, and the author points of people whose lives were motivated by faith. As the journey ends, the author appeals:
Therefore, let us run.
Let us run with endurance.
In the thick of discouragement, run with endurance.
Run by faith.
I am reminded of the psalmist who paints a potent image in psalm 23.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, your rod and your staff they comfort me.
The muscles of faith are exercised in the valley. In the darkness, the motivation to move is faith because the action of faith creates the mindset of faith.
What is faith?
It is knowing God is up to something and trusting Him.
So we move, we get up, and we push forwards because we do not fear the current darkness.
We will not fear because God is with us, God is for us, and God is ahead of us guiding our tired feet from one promise to the next.