Isaiah 35:4 (NIV)
Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
He will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
He will come to save you."
Many preachers promise the world to their audiences, but are these promises always reliable? One would think that at the very least, the promises given in seminary classes across the world are honored, but are they?
One day a professor gave his students a harsh assignment: They each had to preach one sermon in the upcoming month, without any notes!
The professor promised his anxious students, that if they ever lost their train of thought (which they all did!), they only had to repeat their last uttered sentence over and over again with more and more dynamism. The promise? They would remember the sermon they had written. Guaranteed!
To poor Johnny, that promise was never realized. Although he was preaching in an ideal situation-a small, older church-as soon as the words "I am coming" were out of his mouth, all of the rest of his sermon fled.
He started to panic. All eyes in the audience were on him and he couldn't remember a word of what he was supposed to say! He stared at them for a minute, sweat dripping from his face. He wanted to scream "Help!", but that wouldn't look too good on his résumé.
With relief he remembered his professor's promise, and with a bit more energy, he again uttered: "I am coming!" When his mind was still blank, he did it again. And again. In desperation he took a firm hold of the old pulpit and screamed out with all of his might: "I am coming!"
He was shaking so much by this time that the ancient wood of the pulpit gave way under his weight, and he fell off the platform, with the top of the pulpit still tightly gripped in his fists, in front of an older lady on the front row.
Embarrassed, he apologized. The old lady reassuringly replied: "That's all right, young man! You warned me!"
I wonder if Johnny ever became a preacher!
His promises about fear are clear and simple, and unlike the rest of us, He always keeps His promises.
"Do do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God." (Isa 41:10 NIV)
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." (Isa 43:1 NIV)
Why not try getting to know Him?
What do we really have to lose?
Dear Lord, calm our fears and help us to completely trust in You. Thank You for redeeming us. Give us the courage to share that with others today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.