Overcoming the fear inherent in missions

Whenever you step out in faith into an unknown situation, there is fear. Missionary work is no exception.

When God calls you to travel to a new place to spread His word and help the hurting, it tends to raise certain questions in the back of your mind. Is God really calling you? Maybe he meant someone else? You start to wonder if you really have something to offer on the mission field—what if you’re just a waste of space or of someone’s time?

On the Youth Specialties blog, Adam McLane has announced that he and several other youth workers are headed to Haiti to help in the relief work. He writes openly about the fear he’s experiencing:

When I was presented with this opportunity I had a lot of fears to work through. “Would I somehow be in the way?” “What if I get hurt?” “What if I see stuff that is emotionally traumatic?” “How can I serve people when I don’t speak their language or understand their culture?” On and on, I listed my fears.

And then it hit me. God had presented me with this challenge. I’m not going to call it a test, but more like God was calling me on the carpet about many things I say I believe. I’ve talked all this game about social justice, mercy ministry, and living in a way that Christ lived… but was I willing to literally put that talk into action?

I swallowed hard and came to this conclusion.

The fear of doing nothing far outweighs the fear of something going wrong.

I really appreciate Adam’s reflections on fear. Whenever we go somewhere new or do something difficult, we must rely on the fact that there’s something bigger than our fears—namely, God.

In college, I went with a group of fellow students on a spring break missions trip to Mexico to build houses. Only a few of us knew anything about construction. I had plenty of fears about the trip (“what if I get lost in the middle of Juarez at night?” being chief among them). If I had listened to those fears, I would have never gone, and would’ve missed out on an opportunity that God had provided for me.

What about you? When you’re faced with an unsure situation, what do you do to combat the fear that comes along with it? How do you rely on God when you’re stepping out in faith?

One Response to “Overcoming the fear inherent in missions”

  • Sheltie says:

    I to used to be filled with panic when faced with fears raised by all the “What ifs” that crowd into my all areas of my life. Even knowing God is in control, and behind every thing I feel him calling me to do.

    OK. I am not saying that I no longer have feelings of inner fear at times, I am human after all and very aware of my sin nature. But in one fo these moments of great doubt, HE gave me the answer (on a fridge magnet in a gift shop of all things) the phrase on it reads:-

    “The Will of God will never lead you where the Grace of God cannot keep you”.

    The simple truth in this statement hit hard. I can truthfully say that I have never had the same degree of fear since this. Yes I sometimes say “Are you really wanting me to do this Lord?” in a worried tone. But that phrase comes back to me, and I am at peace.