Being Prepared: Two Interpretations
“If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” You know, people usually interpret this as follows: “If you get your stuff gathered up and ready, you won’t be scared when crap happens.” This interpretation is a condition: the state of being prepared, a mental and temporal state of readiness.
Here’s another way of looking at this: “If you are prepared…by the Lord …DO…NOT…FEAR.” Think of how Gandalf said to the fire monster in the Lord of the Rings movie, “YOU…SHALL NOT…PASS!” and then stabbed his staff into the ground to actually make it happen. Apply it here….,“You…shall not…fear!”, and put in your effort to make it happen. In other words, once you realize that the Lord has been preparing you…your mind, your heart, your family, your life….leading you, guiding you, prompting you to act…and you have followed those promptings and leadings…then,DO NOT FEAR (not just “have no fear”) . This is now a COMMAND (or a commandment). It is an instruction for you to STAND…CONFIDENT IN THE LORD…KNOWING THAT HE PREPARED YOU. It is an instruction to TRUST HIM…and NOT FEAR what comes.
So, this statement goes from describing a condition (you’ll be in a situation where you won’t be scared) to the Lord’s issuing a command (“DO NOT FEAR. I have prepared you.”). The command allows us to actively face any unknown situation….because you can’t possibly prepare for every contingency. There’s not enough room, not enough time, not enough YOU for all the weapons, food, training, equipment, money, and whatever to deal with whatever trouble comes your way. You just can’t. That’s the impossible part of reality.
However, the Lord will provide you with the experiences you need to face the uncertainties of the future. If you don’t think He has, think again. Something always prepares you for something else later on in life, whether it’s a thought, a successful moment, a failure, a person you just met or met sometime ago, a place you’ve been to, a challenging situation….there’s a lot! You have a lot more in your bucket of life’s experiences for Him to pick through than you may have thought.
Once you realize that the Lord is behind you, that He’s been working on you, and you’re with Him, then there’s no reason to fear as long as you trust Him, stand with Him, keep yourself qualified to receive His help (integrity), and then…face whatever it is you have to face.
We often hide behind our “shields” in order to feel comfortable enough to face our fears. The resume of accomplishments, our history of experience, our strength, our intelligence, our personality, our gear and gadgets, even our so-called “coping mechanisms”—these are usually the shields and swords we put in front of us to deal with our fears, expecting them to help us make it through the challenge. Take those away…it’s still the same fearful you, isn’t it?
When David faced Goliath, I’m sure he didn’t know exactly how things would play out. He just knew his people were afraid and the other side didn’t care. He also knew who was on his side: the Lord. So when he faced the fear of his people, Goliath, he faced it with what he knew: his experience in fighting large animals, his sling, 5 round stones, and his trust in God. (He rejected the armor, shield, and sword offered to him…because those weren’t him!) When David slung his rock towards the fear that faced him, he didn’t know exactly where that would hit…but the Lord took his effort—and that rock—and hit that fear head on!
Courage doesn’t mean “you have no fear”. Courage means “you’re willing to face your fear…and deal with it head on…despite how inadequate you might feel in the presence of your fear.” Put God in your arsenal…for “who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord?” Stand with the Lord in the face of your fear. You have to face the enemy…but He will fight your battle.
Bravery…Courage…comes from your INTEGRITY….where you can stand under the Sunlight of truth, unashamed, unafraid…because you have nothing to hide. Be truthful, be honest….because it is this INTEGRITY and HONESTY that will allow us to stand…unafraid….despite what comes upon us.
Hypocrites fear exposure. Liars fear exposure. They have something to hide. Their actions (what they do), words (what they say), and self (who they are) do not match. So, they seek reasons and ways to justify their behavior. This is a lack of “structural” personal integrity. When a building lacks structural integrity–whether its materials do not do as they are designed to do, its construction isn’t abiding by stable principles, it’s not built according to how it was designed to be built, or it doesn’t withstand what it was designed to withstand—things will fail from within, and eventually, the building crumbles. So it is with hypocrites and liars: those who lack integrity of heart, mind, spirit, and actions will fall.
When you live with Integrity…and your actions match who you truly are, what you think, what you believe, and what you say…you can walk under the noonday sun with no shame. This is called Being True. Whether to yourself or to others, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how you stand…and that is to Stand True and Be True.
Live True. Be True. Know that the Lord has already prepared you for the challenges you now face. You just need to face it.
You are prepared. You have been prepared. You are now being prepared for future engagements. Do not fear!
“Fear not, though the enemy deride
Courage, for the Lord is on our side
We will heed not what the wicked may say
But the Lord, alone, we will obey.”
Let us all press on…