Fight Fear: Value Each Day

God’s Not Finished with You
[The angel said,] “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar, and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” Acts 27:24

One stanza of the classic hymn “Amazing Grace” starts this way: “Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come.” The man who wrote those words, John Newton, endured many hardships, including beatings and hunger, before he surrendered his life to God.[1]

The apostle Paul could have written those lyrics too. After his conversion to Christianity, he spent several decades traveling throughout Asia and Europe, proclaiming the gospel and establishing churches. The long list of his “dangers, toils, and snares” includes imprisonment, beatings, and stonings (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-33).  

On what may have been his last sea voyage, a “wind of hurricane force” arose (Acts 27: 14–15). The storm raged for many days, Paul said, and “we finally gave up all hope of being saved” (v. 20).

But then God sent an angel to Paul with a message of hope: he and everyone on board would live. On the fifteenth day, the boat ran aground near the island of Malta, and everyone aboard swam to shore. Not only did Paul minister to people there, but he also lived several more years to continue his ministry. While he was imprisoned in Rome, he wrote letters we cherish today, including the books of Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.

Life-threatening circumstances or illnesses may seem insurmountable. But even in these situations, God says, “Do not fear.” Church historian Thomas Fuller wrote, “God’s children are immortal while their Father has anything for them to do on earth.”[2]

That’s as true for you and me as it was for John Newton and Paul. Every day we’re bombarded with messages of fear, hopelessness, and potential catastrophe. But God’s still in charge of the universe. The One who counts the hairs on our head will keep us safe until our work on earth is finished. As Newton wrote, “’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” God’s grace will lead us to our eternal home too.

What kingdom work will you tackle on this day God has given you?

Dig Deeper

Joseph, Esther, and Daniel faced “certain death” yet lived to testify of God’s grace. Review one of their stories this week and be encouraged: Joseph (Genesis 37, 39–50); Esther (Esther 1–7); Daniel (Daniel 1–2, 5–6).

Review the list of Paul’s “dangers, toils, and snares” in 1 Corinthians 4:11–13 and 2 Corinthians 11:23–33. What is his attitude about all his troubles according to 2 Corinthians 4:16–18? In what ways does Paul’s example inspire you?

Read Psalm 91. When you are feeling fearful, what truths in this psalm can dispel the fear and fill your heart with confidence in God?

Denise K. Loock

This devotion is part of our series, “Do Not Be Afraid.”


[1] “John Newton: Reformed Slave Trader,” Christianity Today, accessed 22 October 2020, https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/pastorsandpreachers/john-newton.html.

[2] Qtd. in Herbert Lockyer, Daily Promises: Inspiring Devotions for Every Day of the Year, November 10 reading (Peabody, MS: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996).

Comments

  1. Very timely message. We just lost a dear friend of over 20 years to Covid-19. She, obviously, had finished her work on earth. I would have thought there was more for her to do. She and her husband were the only real godly influence in two of there grandchildren’s lives. We don’t always understand God’s timing, but it is good to know we want go until God is finished with us.

    1. Author

      Thanks for the encouraging feedback, Kenny. It is good to know that God takes each of us home at the right moment.

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