January 16. This morning in my daily Bible reading, I read about Jacob’s prayer of faith. He was afraid and had good reason to be. After all, he’d cheated his brother out of his inheritance and fled for his life because his brother was ready to murder him. When God told Jacob to return home, he did so—and sent a gift ahead of his family to Esau. But he received the news that his brother Esau was approaching with a band of 400 men. Sounds more like an army than a welcoming committee to me!
Jacob must have thought the same thing. He prayed:
“Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted’ ” (Genesis 32:11–12).
Fear makes me falter when God calls me to action. I’m afraid of what people will think, afraid I’ll be working alone, afraid the sacrifice will be too painful, afraid for my safety, afraid for my family’s safety . . . and on it goes.
God had called Jacob to return home, and Jacob was afraid he and his family would be slaughtered. So he prayed. He said, “God, the circumstances look like this, but Your promise says this.”
When those two oppose each other, I want to choose God’s promise. He keeps His promise, every time. Not every statement in God’s Word is a promise for me today. Some are general principles, and some apply to specific people in specific situations. But here are some promises I think are for every follower of Jesus Christ:
- Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
- Whoever loses his life for Me will find it (Matthew 16:25).
- I will reward each person according to what he has done (Matthew 16:27).
No act of obedience goes unnoticed or unrewarded. We are never alone. Help us remember Your promises, Lord, when we are afraid. Help us choose faith instead of fear. Fill us with courage to do all You have asked us to do.