Faith Supersedes Fear

June 7, 2020 by Angela Peabody (Virginia, USA)

Two years ago in 2018, I submitted my first devotional to the Upper Room. I am humbly honored that my submission is the June 7, 2020 devotional, titled “Faith In God’s Word.”  The devotional was about how my family and I survived one of Africa’s deadliest military overthrows of governments.  I believed then, and I still believe now, that the only reason we survived was because we called out to God in desperate unison, and God answered our cries.

That was forty years ago in Monrovia, Liberia, in West Africa.  Several people of our group from that dreadful day have since gone to be with the Lord.  My faith has grown by far stronger than it was 40 years ago.  I was a young wife and mother at the time; now I am a widow and grandmother of 6.  I attend church services regularly, assist with the serving of communion, and teach Sunday school and vacation Bible school.  I also run a nonprofit organization in my community, where I help young women and girls who have been subjected to gender violence.  I share my faith with the women and girls to help give them strength and confidence, as they rebuild their lives.

The young woman I was 40 years ago as we prayed for our lives to be spared is a different woman now.  I walked away from a close encounter with death feeling bitter and resentful, and with unanswered questions.  However, the one thing that I possessed 40 years ago that I still have today is my faith in God.  I was taught about faith from childhood by my parents and the United Methodist Church in Monrovia; and that lesson has helped to mold me into the Christian woman I am today.  I am grateful to them for instilling in me the values of prayer and faith.  I remember my mother telling me, “When you pray and give it to God, you have to leave it up to him.  If you try to handle it yourself, he will wonder why you asked him in the first place.”  As a young person, I never quite understood what she meant by that—not until I came to fully understand the true definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (NIV).  Many years later as I read that short verse in the book of Hebrews, it clearly explained what my mother told me.  She was trying to share with me the power of faith.

Now when I am faced with unanswered questions or confronted with life’s challenges and uncertainties, such as coping with deadly diseases in our midst, I turn to the greatest book ever written—the Holy Bible.  I can find the answers nestled somewhere in there.  I now often think of living under dusk to dawn curfews 40 years ago, terrified to leave the house for fear of being killed.  Today, I have come full circle to again being cautious when leaving the house so as not to be exposed to a different kind of danger—COVID-19.  The difference between 40 years ago and today is that I now know how to leave my requests with the Lord and not worry about it, because when I give it to God, I have the confidence that it has already happened.

Heavenly Father, please continue to strengthen our faith in you so that when we ask, we know that it is already answered.  Amen.       

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