Running Scared

Written by Gail Black Kopf

In the midst of a crisis or life-altering decision, being responsible for the outcome of our choices gives us the heebie-jeebies. Whether it’s a relationship that’s gone south, a medical emergency, a job change, disappearing finances, or a natural disaster, we’re tempted to procrastinate. We know what needs to be done, but we often delay, ignore, or run away from a demanding situation.

You’re in good company. Many Bible characters ran away to avoid or escape difficulties. After Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible says they ran away and hid from God’s presence. Moses fled after he killed a man. When Potiphar’s wife tempted Joseph to come lie with her, he rushed outside. David ran from King Saul and hid in a cave. Hagar decided to cut and run to avoid harsh treatment by Sara. Elijah hightailed it to the desert after Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. When Jonah was asked to preach in Nineveh, he made a break for it, and went the opposite direction. As soon as Paul’s disciples discovered a plot to kill him, he escaped in a basket lowered over a city wall. And lest we forget, when Jesus was arrested in the garden, His disciples bolted.

So, when should we stand and fight, and when should we run away? When we see a forest fire or a flood making its way towards us, the answer is simple: we flee. Other times, when you feel overwhelmed and the thought of rejection or criticism leaves you reeling, you have to move past, “I’m afraid,” to “How does God want me to resolve this?” Fear takes flight and runs away, but faith stands firm on God’s principles and the hard truths of Christianity.

America is in crisis. Erwin W. Lutzer, pastor emeritus of The Moody Church, states in his book, We Will Not Be Silenced, that if we run away—or keep silent—we are surrending America to the radicals. He writes, “It’s vital for us to understand that behind the headlines is a raging spiritual battle that can only be confronted by prayer and repentance followed by action in keeping with repentance. Only then can we [Christians] hope to be a powerful voice in this nation. I am skeptical about our willingness to stand against the headwinds we face. We are so much a part of our culture that it might be difficult for us to know where to begin in our resolve to remain firm. We are like a fish swimming in the ocean wondering where the water is. Perhaps we have lost our capacity to despise sin, whether it be our own or the sin prevalent in our culture.”

 

 
“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy. . . It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.” ~ David Platt

 

We need to be radicals—radicals for Christ. The Urban Dictionary describes a radical Christian as one whose “. . . very life, words and actions reflect the love of Christ. God’s light shines through them, you never want to leave their presence. . . You don’t want to leave the peace, hope, joy, and love that surround them. What they have is intoxicating, not toxic.”

The devil is using this time of great confusion to influence our thoughts and actions. Ever the opportunist, Satan wants to increase the forces of darkness and remove God from everything in our society. Lutzer writes, “Americans are spending $2.1 billion on the “mystical services market” trying to find meaning by looking at themselves, trying to hear a voice from the heavens that would give them some hope and direction.”

On a quest, for confidence in a better future, our culture is now obsessed with empty, utopian promises. In a world that prefers the quick and easy, our churches have turned from the gospel to social justice issues to be more acceptable to the mainstream. St. Augustine wrote, “What is reprehensible is that while leading good lives themselves and abhorring those of wicked men, some, fearing to offend, shut their eyes to evil deeds instead of condemning them and pointing out their malice.”

Saul Alinsky, who died in 1976, is the author of the book Rules for Radicals, written to advance a Marxist agenda. He believed that changing a nation begins with revolution. On its forward, he acknowledged Lucifer, “. . . the first radical who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom.” The Bible reminds us, “For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:23).

In their efforts to transform America, Alinsky’s book is still used by left-wing radicals and secularists to push their godless political and economic agendas. Today, we are inundated by politicians and activists who want environmental justice, gender justice, educational justice, immigration justice, economic justice, and reproductive justice.

Opponents to these social mandates are called racist, homophobic, bigoted, and intolerant. We are pressured to delegitimize our past and rewrite our history. And if we cower when shamed and vilified for our Biblical beliefs, Satan wins—at least temporarily.

The devil loves when we overlook that he’s the source of all hatred, strife, misery, turmoil, and sin. He’s the author of deception, disobedience, and anything contrary to God and His Word. Satan instigates rebellion and wants us to waste energy fighting each other, instead of appropriating the spiritual power that God has provided through His Spirit and prayer.

We need to look at our world through the wide-angle lens of God’s perspective. Like Daniel, we have to face the lions in our life and our society. Our main weapon is the Word of God; we should base all our decisions on it. St. Augustine said, “The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself.”

Satan, described as an angry roaring lion, conspires to ruin God’s work and attack His followers. He will continue to devour people if we don’t accept the challenge of representing Christ to a watching world that desperately needs Him. Steve Saint, the son of missionary pilot Nate Saint, who was killed in Ecuador by a tribe he wanted to reach for Christ, said, “Christianity is an extreme call to a radical life following a revolutionary leader.”

If you’re a believer, you don’t have to tackle your battles alone. In a nation that has lost its way, we must trust the Lord to guide our steps through a quagmire of decisions, corruption, and cultural pressures. A new social order will not save us; our only hope rests in the life-saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It’s time to stop running away. Let’s listen to God and not our fears.