"So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God" (2 Timothy 1:8).
Paul writes this letter to a young pastor who had become his own son in the faith. He had the privileged opportunity to see Timothy come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He was there to lay hands on this young man and experience his surrender to the call of ministry. He knew of the story of his Jewish mother and grandmother, both of whom loved God and came to know Jesus. The Godly influences that were a part of Timothy's heritage were astounding, yet Paul also had the perspective to see that which was lurking in the shadows. Timothy's mother was Jewish, but his father was Greek. Be raised in both cultures would be a source of constant contention for him in the religious circles, as he had not followed certain ceremonial rites as a Jew because he was also a Greek. Now that he was pursuing a call to preach and to minister, he also had to reconcile how is dual heritage might stand in the way of his own credibility in being heard and effective among others. To add to that, what if people wouldn't listen to the outrageousness of this Gospel message. He knew what had happened to Jesus, and several of the other Apostles had already had their lives taken. Paul was in prison for doing exactly what he, too, had signed on to do. Paul's words to his young protégé were to not give into fear, to stand with courage, and trust that would use every situation to the benefit of his calling. There would be nothing wasted. All he needed to do was to keep his eyes on Jesus, keep fanning the flame of what had begun in him, and trust God beyond the situation.
I have found myself in this very type of situation time and again. I know that giving in to fear is not of God and really don't struggle in believing that God can do what He said He would do. Where the rubber meets the road for me is to not waste time giving into the "what if" scenarios in between the time of "God said" and "God did." As I read the words of Paul to Timothy, I also receive the truth and encouragement for myself. I will not be afraid or ashamed of what God has called me to do. I may not know how it's all going to work out or come to pass, but I have to understand that that is all part of God's design. He has never called me into something that is going to eliminate my need to depend upon Him. I will still face the moments that will try to play on the fears of the past and the perceived insecurities of the present. I will not give in. I will not fear the "what if's" because I know no matter what happens, God already saw it, knew it, and had a plan for me to get through it. There is no situation that God has not already considered and factored into the plan He has for what will happen. I will trust Him. There is nothing that I have faced or will face that God cannot or will not use. There is nothing wasted. Every doubt and every fear will be transformed into another chapter of the story that God is writing on the parchment of my life.
Thank You, Jesus for Your faithfulness to me. I think of all the wasted moments of worrying about how trusting you may backfire on myself or my own credibility. I know that in You, that there is nothing wasted, and that it has never been about me. I do not have to fear when living in faith for You. Lord, I have given you my life and therefore I live to give every minute and second of my day to you. It is yours. It is not mine. I ask for Your continued wisdom and strength and courage for every step I walk in the direction you've called. I know I cannot do this by myself, but with You, I know that I can do all things. Thank You for the moments that I've encountered the fear and the worry. They may have been intended to stop me, but they only served to remind me of how great and powerful You are. I love you Jesus. Thank you. It's in YOUR NAME, Amen.