Thursday, June 5, 2008

In Over Our Heads!

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man,"dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid” (Rev. 1:12-17a).

“Do not be afraid.” How often did Jesus say this? One can understand his need to assure us that he will keep the natural changes, challenges, and calamities of life from overwhelming us if we will trust in him. For example, when he revealed to his disciples that he was about to leave them and return to the Father, it was necessary for him to strengthen their dismayed hearts by saying,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

But in this passage from Revelation, he has to say “Do not be afraid” for a different reason. It is because, in following him, we will not only encounter the normal challenges of life, but we will also find ourselves in extraordinary places that he has put us in--places that are way over our heads, way too glorious, way too daring. Those who—like John and the other disciples—chose not to fear but to continue to pursue . . . well, it is a matter of history what triumphs and influence—and joy—became theirs.

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