I’m delighted to have my brainstorming buddy join us for this month’s Strong and Courageous post. I think you’ll really get a lot out of what Jerusha Agen has to say. Welcome, Jerusha!
ARMED FOR COURAGE
“They were circling him,” the chaplain told me, as she related an incident she’d witnessed at the county jail a few days before. She’d been about to enter a “pod,” a section of the jail housing inmates, when the correctional officer inside signaled she should remain outside the door.
She looked through the window and saw the reason why.
Several inmates circled the officer, looking for their moment to attack.
Other officers were summoned and the officer in trouble was safely extracted.
But, after hearing her harrowing true story, I had one more reason to add to the list of why I’m afraid of what I’m about to do.
Starting in July, I and three other ladies plan to team up to teach a Bible study to women inmates at our local county jail. I’ve felt the call to do something like this for a long time—to show mercy to women in need, to bring the Gospel to broken people in unreached places.
But I’ve resisted acting on that call for just as long. Especially if that unreached place the Lord was calling me to was a jail.
You see, I’m a fiction writer with a hyperactive imagination. That powerful imagination is a gift, but like many good things, I make it a bad thing when I let it imagine things it shouldn’t. It’s especially a bad thing when I let it run with my fears.
Even without hearing first-hand stories from the jail chaplain, I can supply plenty of scary scenarios in my own mind. I’ve seen enough movies and watched enough TV to inform me as to what kinds of things go on in jails and prisons.
I know they occasionally have riots. I know security measures can sometimes fail.
Honestly, I’m scared. I don’t want to take the risk of going inside a jail. I don’t want something terrible to happen to me.
Isn’t that a natural and normal fear? Sure. It’s “natural” and “normal” because, like everyone else in the world, I’m a fallen, sinful person. So fear—one of Satan’s favorite, enslaving weapons—is my natural response to danger.
But because I‘m a Christian, I am a new creature in Christ. I don’t have to fall back on my sinful nature. I don’t have to, and shouldn’t, excuse my fear because it’s “natural.”
Because the truth is, I was created in the image of God. I was created to be free from all fear. And Jesus Christ came to Earth and died on the cross to free me to live that fearless life once again (Luke 1:74).
So as I look forward to entering a jail to teach a Bible study, I can’t let Satan stop me from doing God’s work. I must fight the fear with everything I’ve got, or I know I’ll heed it and run the other way.
The good news is that I’ve got a lot. I have a whole arsenal of weapons to fight this fear. I read about them in Ephesians 6:10-18, the passage on the Armor of God.
I keep a tight grip on the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, slashing the enemy of fear with verse after verse that reminds me I serve a powerful God Who is mighty to save, Who promises to never leave me or forsake me, Who guarantees only good for me and my future.
So when the gates of the jail open to let me in, I won’t walk in alone. My all-knowing Father, my unbeatable Protector, and my Redeemer will go with me. With the Shield of Faith held high, I will follow the Lord’s command to be strong and courageous, through Him who strengthens me.
Have you ever participated in a ministry that required you to really lean on the Lord for the courage to complete it?
Jerusha Agen imagines danger around every corner, but knows God is there, too. So naturally, she writes romantic suspense
infused with the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. With a B.A. in English and a background in screenwriting, Jerusha is the author of the Fear Warrior Blog (www.JerushaAgen.com/blog), where she writes about fighting against fear in our everyday lives. You’ll often find Jerusha sharing irresistibly adorable photos of her Furry Fear Warriors (three big dogs and two little cats) on social media. Visit Jerusha at www.JerushaAgen.com and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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When trafficking survivor Tamara agrees to share her story at a
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determined to save her from harm…But who will protect Tamara’s heart?
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