They feared extremists showing up at the rally, and requested me to stay behind as they cared for my safety. I am disappointed but not frustrated, after all their care is genuine and their worry understandable - but it did remind of something I recently heard, about 'fear' being the greatest hurdle in the life of a Christian. How true!
The only other thing I'd argue affects our progress is 'apathy', but fear does affect us all in one way or another at some point. Take evangelism - a saved soul is characterised by the desire to evangelise, but at times the fear of rejection or ill public perception nullifies us. Likewise, fighting for worthwhile causes - we fear being perceived as activists (I don't really know what's wrong with non-violent activism to be honest!) or being opposed or confronted in an unamicable manner.
The truth in all this, is that we ultimately fear MAN - that sounds terrible doesn't it? We ignore the root cause - our fellow man, his rejection, his disapproval, his reaction - and blame everything else to justify our fearfulness and continue wallowing in it. Wise King Solomon had something to say about this too, in Proverbs 29:25 he writes, 'Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.' #WORD
However, fear is not a bad guy...it is after all the 'fear of the LORD' that is the 'beginning of wisdom'. The focus of our fear is what defines how we will be affected. Fearing God or other forms of authority, pushes us towards our destiny because it stems from love and respect. The 'fear of man' however stems from our desire to be accepted, loved and gain the approval of society. BIG difference!
We are to be fearless, not foolish, in our calling! Sadly we are like pendulums - most often we are stuck in the middle, comfortable in our apathy but when we get that push, we fluctuate between over-readiness, and stubborn reluctance. If you stick to what you are called to do and seek the discernment of the Holy Spirit, what could possibly go wrong?
If and when you are called into those dark alleyways, remember that He who called you, will not leave you. What is the worst that can happen? Being killed. Do you think my breath will be allowed to leave my body without His permission...of course not! If His plan is to end my life in that manner on a particular day, tell me, who can change that? No matter where I hide, it will happen! Besides, death isn't a grim and fearful prospect for a Christian - I yearn for that glorious day, where I will see my Saviour face to face, where I will know all that I believed and hoped for. Yes death is painful, but for a Christian whose eternity is secure in Christ, it is not the end...there is something magnificent awaiting us across the Jordon. More reason to descend into the battlefield, fearless!
I believe 'fear' is something we can all relate to; during those times focus not on what is in front of you, but on the God who is sovereign over it all. '...in all things God works for the good of those who love Him...' 'The LORD is [your] helper, what can a mere man do to [you]?'
I hope I have encouraged you to 'go hard' for God, but if not I'm sure Chris Tomlin, Francesca Battistelli and Moriah Peters will drive the point home! We have the God of angel armies on our side - so why fear?