We often fear things that are beyond our knowledge or control. In Scripture, God told His people, dozens of times, “Do not be afraid” (Gen. 15:1; Deut. 3:22; Josh. 10:8). But it’s important that this admonition was almost always followed by an encouraging reminder of His strength and comfort. This command was never followed by “If you fear, you are sinning.” God created us with a wide range of emotions, and He is not surprised when we become emotional. D. L. Moody experienced paralyzing fear when the ship on which he was traveling began taking on water. He later recalled, “I had thought myself superior to the fear of death, but on the sinking ship it was different . . . as my thoughts went out to my loved ones at home, and as I realized that perhaps the next hour would separate me forever from all these, I confess it almost broke me. It was the darkest hour of my life. I could not endure it.” Moody returned to his cabin and prayed for peace and deliverance. Later, a passing vessel came to the ship’s aid, and all on board were rescued.
Fear can sometimes be useful. It can keep us from walking to the edge of a cliff, from driving across water-covered roads, from walking down a dark alley at night, and other choices that would risk our safety. However, if fear keeps us from leaving our homes or paralyzes us, something different is at work (Ps. 46:2). Feeling afraid is different from being ruled by fear. Being ruled by fear means that something other than the power of God is leading us. We can put our fear in perspective when we realize that God is with us (Isa. 41:10). There are times when we may pass through fear, but our Father never tells us to stop and make camp there.
It might be helpful to clarify what we mean by family values. Some use the term to describe family-friendly content that does not include sinful behavior like sex outside of marriage, drunkenness, foul language, or blasphemy. Jesus often addressed these types of behaviors. He spoke of marriage and divorce (Matt. 19:1–13). He taught that “what comes out of the mouth” (Matt. 15:10) defiles us and erodes the beauty of our fellowship with God. While Jesus didn’t create a checklist of do’s and don’ts, He did teach His followers to help the needy and outcasts of society. Encapsulating the core of His message, He said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Jesus valued family. He showed His Father’s tender heart by comparing it to the compassionate behavior of good earthly fathers (Matthew 7). He told parables about obedient and disobedient sons (Luke 15). His heart was moved by parents who asked Him to heal their children (Mark 5). He stressed the value of women, children, and “the least of these” (Matt. 25:40). And in the midst of unthinkable torture on the cross, He gave the care of His mother over to a friend and disciple (John 19:26–27). Perhaps the best family value He taught was that our Heavenly Father loves us and calls each of us His child (John 1:12).
You aren’t alone. If you polled a group of believers, you’d find many who have never heard God’s audible voice. The Bible does record people who heard God’s voice audibly: Adam and Eve, Moses, Samuel, Paul. Many heard God’s voice at Jesus’ baptism. Others, such as Hagar, Jacob, Elijah, David, and Mary and Joseph, heard a message from God through an angel.
You may have heard the story of a man trapped by rising floodwaters. As the waters rose, rescuers came in a Jeep, then in a boat, and finally in a helicopter. Each time the man refused help, saying that God had told him He would rescue him. When the waters engulfed the man, and he awoke at the gates of Heaven, he asked God why He hadn’t rescued him. God replied, “First I sent a Jeep, then I sent a boat, then I sent a helicopter!”
Have you ever read a passage of Scripture that comforted, challenged, or drew you closer to Christ? Suddenly, you realized God was speaking to you. Our God is a living God and still speaks to us today. He may use a passage of Scripture, a sermon, or a friend’s counsel. And, if He chooses, he could send an angel or speak audibly to you.