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The Secret to Escaping the Fear of the Unknown

The Secret to Escaping the Fear of the Unknown

Fear of what the future holds in store begins in childhood; we discover that our parents and friends may disappoint us or even reject us; we learn that illness or accident may happen suddenly and that people we love die; we learn that we do not always succeed and begin to fear failure. “Will my grades be high enough in my school report to please mom and dad? Will I pass my exams and get a good job when I leave school?” We can all remember anxiously asking ourselves these kinds of questions.

Yet wondering what the future holds in store does not end with our childhood. As adults, we know that life is filled with uncertainty and that even within the short span of twenty-four hours something can happen that will change our lives forever. Furthermore, none of us knows when death will call us to stand before our Maker and account for the way we have lived.

I think we can define maturity as “learning to face the unexpected.” Now if ever a person had to face the unexpected, it was John. So we will find it instructive to see how he faced his uncertain and unpromising future on the island of Patmos.

How was he able to cope? John knew that faith was important. Earlier, in his Gospel, he had recorded these words of Jesus: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). John knew that victory is certain for anybody who believes in Jesus, and in his first letter to the church he said, “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). This gives you an idea of how John felt and how much he trusted in the Lord.

It is one thing to believe something theoretically, but quite another to put faith into practice. When trouble comes, many Christians say they believe the Bible, but when they have problems and when tragedy comes into their lives, they go to pieces. They need to take firm hold of what John had grasped, “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

Now, John put his faith into practice. Revelation 1:10 shows us how he did this: “On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit.” That was how John faced the unexpected.

Another strategy John used in coping with the unexpected was to pray. Alone and thus without Christian fellowship, he turned to God. Remember, if you are lonely, you too can pray. Sometimes, when all else fails, God allows bad things to happen to us to bring us to the place of prayer.

However, we must recognize that John’s prayer was no ordinary prayer; he was “in the Spirit.” How does one get “in the Spirit”? The question is important because until you know what it is like to be in the Spirit, you will never know how to face the unexpected. Yet you cannot initiate this. The Holy Spirit cannot be manipulated by your hands or by your will. I have heard it said that people can “work up” the Spirit. This is utterly false. The Spirit must come to you first.

Next you should know that to abide in “the secret place of the most High” (Ps. 91:1, KJV), is to accept what the Spirit reveals: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to the world, and when He was crucified, more was happening than was visible to the human eye, for on the cross God punished His perfectly righteous Son. You may think God was cruel and very unfair to punish Jesus, who knew no sin. Nevertheless, I want you to know that is how much God loves you. He sent His Son into the world and punished Him instead of you, and He laid all your sins on Him.

God has a way of protecting His own with singular mercy. Do you know why? It is because when you accept His Son, who bought you with His own blood, you become a part of God’s family; you become His child. First John 3:1 says, “What great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” So now the things that concern you, concern Him; your problems become His problems, and your cares become His cares. He enters into a covenant with you, and everything that happens to you will be with His divine permission. When you become a Christian, you may face the future without fear.

To read more from R.T. Kendall’s 'A Vision of Jesus', visit

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