Whom Shall I Fear?
- July 28, 2022
- Posted by: Kara Bratton
- Category: Devotions
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 came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident. – Psalm 27:1-3
Over the course of my career, I have had held many different jobs. I have taught at every grade level from grades 1-8. I have been a coach and athletic director. I spent two years as a church youth director and five years as the principal of a Lutheran elementary school. For six years, I was an instructor and a program coordinator at a Lutheran university. Currently, I am starting my ninth an administrator at Lutheran Special Education Ministries and long before any of this, I spent four summers driving the train at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo (ok, that last one is a bit of a non sequitur, but it’s also probably the most interesting).
That’s a lot of different jobs to have held over an approximately 33-year timespan. Having listed this, it leads me to wonder why I’ve changed hats so often. One possible reason was quite memorably presented to me one day by Joel, a parent at the school where I was principal.
I was in the middle of a conversation with another parent who asked about my work background. In the middle of my answer, Joel walked up, listened to the long list and without missing a beat finished my sentence by saying; “And we will eventually find something Rich is good at.” His line left me speechless (a rarity). It was funny and we laughed about it. I took no offense to the comment as none was intended. But I could have very easily let my mind run wild with that comment. What does he mean? Do people think that? Am I effective? Do I matter?
I share all of this to bring up a rather simple topic: failure. Failing is something we all experience from time to time in every area of our lives. We fail to hear the alarm and oversleep. We fail to see the child’s toy that he failed to pick up and we trip. We fail to see the police officer as we’re failing to follow the speed limit. We fail to prepare for the meeting that we failed to put on our calendar. We fail to grab our lunch as we leave the house. Failed investments, failed marriages, failed plans, a failed diet, failing to meet occupational objectives, etc…
In case you missed it, we all fail. But having that in common with the rest of humanity is not the point. What I find more intriguing is how we respond to our failures. Some of us get angry or frustrated and channel those emotions into improvements. Some of us grow upset and frantically work to fix whatever problems our failures have created. But some people use those feelings of doubt and failure to retreat; to back away and avoid the uncomfortable situation. Over time, this will leave that person feeling they are undesirable, incapable of success, or simply put – a failure. Maybe this feeling only appears in one area of your life, but often, feelings of failure in one arena can lead to a loss of confidence that brings fear and self-doubt into others. Job-related stress will impact your mood at home and vice-versa. Frustrations can breed impatience and a lack of focus. This leads to mistakes, and enough mistakes put together ultimately turns into failure.
We must strive to avoid the pitfalls of failure by refusing to allow ourselves to be lured into Satan’s trap. If failure is shared among all of humanity, where is the fear? It’s the seed of doubt planted into our minds by an enemy wanting to distort what God is trying to do in our lives. God will take us to places we find uncomfortable to stretch us as he builds us up for something He has pre-destined. When our trust is placed in Him, we can use those moments to propel ourselves forward. When our trust is replaced by worry, we lose direction and confidence. Or to borrow an analogy from Tim Elmore, we take what God provided for us to be a stepping-stone and turn it into our tombstone.
Fear not. No trial you face will ever separate you from the greatest support you have. God has designed you for something greater. No misstep, miscalculation, or mistake will change who you are in His eyes, nor will it prevent you from fulfilling the destiny He has for you to achieve. You are worth more than a bad decision or a missed opportunity. So don’t panic in the face of opposition, rejection or pain. Seek the face of the God who brought you to it to carry you through it because He will renew it.
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
LSEM Senior Director of Operations