Fear on Trial – Fearless Fridays – by Tony Hilling


Okay, I’m taking a liberty here about my next Fearless Friday submission, so hopefully Tony doesn’t feel put on the spot. BUT remember this past week I blogged about Inner Strength, and I talked about the time my baby boy was on life support. Well, during that time I sat in the hospital, next to my baby boy who was on life support.  I read a scripture about healing and people having the gift of healing. In that moment,  I prayed for God to send someone with the gift of healing to pray for my son. The next day Pastor Tony (who was my former pastor) heard about my son, and came to the hospital to pray. He anointed the room with oil and laid hands on my boy, the next day they took my baby off life support and he started breathing on his own.

So sorry Tony, if I embarrassed you, but I’m so glad you are my Fearless Friday guest today!  Thanks for praying for my boy who’s lungs now looks like this….

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Okay back to FEARLESS FRIDAYS!!!

 

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FEAR FACTOR by Tony Hilling

 

When I was about six years old, I went to a movie about dinosaurs. I vaguely recollect that some of my friends had billed it as scary. The film hardly got started when I freaked out and ran out of the cinema, screaming. Though embarrassing, it was not the first of my brushes with “Father Fear”. My Mum told me that as a toddler, I was literally afraid of my own shadow. Fear was a constant and overwhelming emotion for me.

Hannah Whitall Smith once wrote a story entitled, “Hinds Feet on High Places” whose main character is a young deformed girl named Much Afraid. That name really resonated with me. The rest of the story describes Much Afraid’s encounter with a mysterious Shepherd who opens to her a journey of transformation.

Of course, not all fear is to be discouraged. Where the meaning of the term approaches prudent caution, fear is even necessary. The old proverb comes to mind: “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread!” There seems to be a tendency these days among some to abandon all caution in favour of a helter-skelter rush to the extreme. This is epitomized in the bumper sticker visible on some muscle trucks, “No Fear”, usually presented in a pseudo-gothic script. On seeing this, I have frequently given into the temptation to interject, “…No Brains!” But where exactly is the boundary between common prudence and immobilizing fear? The difference can be subtle.

This is illustrated in a story from the Bible described in 2 Chronicles 20, where King Jehosophat of Judah is faced with three armies who come to make war on him and the Jewish people. As the people gather to pray and fast, a prophet named Jahaziel rises up and says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God’s… Tomorrow, march down against them… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.” At first blush, the prophet seems to suggest a certain passivity. But he also encourages them to stand firm and face the enemy. And when the Judeans go out to answer the challenge, they find that the three armies arrayed against them have already fought against each other and have been annihilated. The story highlights how we can be placed in circumstances not of our own choosing that threaten our very existence. Do we run and hide, or lunge forward in reckless abandon? Jehosophat did neither but he did experience the reality of gut-wrenching fear. However, he did not give into it. Instead, relying on what God had spoken through Jahaziel, he stepped up in faith and witnessed God’s deliverance.


In the “The Voice of Aedistamen” a biblical fantasy novel that I have written, there is the same theme of moving from fear to faith. The hero of the story is Owa’en, a Moses figure who senses God’s call to be the instrument of the deliverance of his people from slavery. At one pivotal moment, Owa’en is faced with a stark choice: stand back and consolidate in the face of a huge army, or step out in faith, relying on God’s word. Which does he choose? Sorry, you’ll have to read it to find out. However, if you’d like a sneak peak, click here!

But is all of this just myth and fantasy? Does this happen in the real word? A few years ago, I returned to the practice of law after a fourteen year absence. I had to scramble to catch up after a long time in seminary and in ministry. A client of mine was charged with assault and the evidence stacked up against him looked very persuasive. I prepared as best I could and prayed even more fervently that God would show me how to help him. On the morning of the trial, I showed up with much anxiety only to find that the complainant had actually died and the case against my client was withdrawn. I walked away from that morning shaking my head. Another proverb comes to mind: Man proposes; God disposes. It was a lesson that sometimes just like Jehoshaphat, we are asked to set our fears aside and show up in faith, so that God can show that He is indeed God!

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054Tony Hilling is a retired pastor, lawyer and writer. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland and now makes his home in Western Canada. “The Voice of Aedistamen” is his first novel. You can reach him on:

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