I am not ashamed to say that there are things that I fear. I am deathly afraid of snakes. I am afraid to sleep outside overnight in my backyard. (Hey! There are coyotes in the city!) I fear being alone in my old age. On March 26, 2012, my 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with stage 3B ovarian cancer. There is nothing in the world that prepares a parent to hear those words come out of a doctor’s mouth. That’s a whole new level of fear.
I know, I know. “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) and “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13) So I kept telling myself, “Do not fear. God’s got this. He will help her. He will help you.” These verses are good and I believe them, but I also learned something more. God wants WAY more for us than just to not fear. He wants us to have faith in His promises. He wants us to trust Him and what He says in His Word. He wants us to STAND FIRM.
I am struck by how many times God uses this instruction in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. In Exodus He tells us to ‘STAND FIRM and see the deliverance of the Lord’. In 2 Chronicles He says that ‘we will not have to fight the battle but to take our positions and STAND FIRM.’ He tells Job that he ‘will STAND FIRM and without fear.’ The Psalmist writes that we are to ‘rise up and STAND FIRM.’ In Proverbs, ‘the righteous STAND FIRM forever.’ In Isaiah, ‘if you don’t STAND FIRM you will not stand at all.’ In Luke, STAND FIRM and you will win life.’ In 1 Corinthians, ‘it is by faith that you STAND FIRM.’ In Ephesians He tells us to put on our Holy armor and ‘STAND FIRM with the belt of Truth buckled on.’ In Philippians, ‘STAND FIRM and hold fast.’ And in James, ‘be patient and STAND FIRM.’
So what does it mean to stand firm? Think about it. When you stand firm, your feet are planted, and you are sure of the ground beneath you. You are standing up straight, confident in your stance. You are alert, ready for whatever may come; you won’t be easily moved. God doesn’t just want us to passively not be afraid. He wants us to actively, assertively, even aggressively STAND FIRM.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galations 5:1
BTW – My daughter is alive and healthy and living the life God intended for her!