So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.
Fear. Everyone has experienced it at least once in her lifetime; most of us have experienced it multiple times. Some of us are afraid to admit just how much we’ve been afraid.
Yet time and time again God reminds us in His Word to fear not. Fear not, for He is with us. Fear not, for He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. Fear not, for He is faithful to do all He has promised. Fear not, for He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory.
We as God’s children are to fear not–we are to be anxious for nothing. We are to trust Him in all our ways, with all our thoughts, and whatever the circumstance.
Of course, I do admit this is easier said than done. When your husband comes home and informs you he lost his job, human nature wants to fear. When your daughter expresses interest in being a missionary overseas, you want to grab her, hold her tight, and keep her at home with you. When God tells you to quit your current job to pursue something completely different, your mind immediately calculates the risks associated with such a move. Or maybe you are in a situation like I once was: you are offered a job doing something you feel unqualified and ill-equipped for, yet you sense God telling you to take it anyway.
Fear happens. It comes on suddenly and attempts to keep us from proceeding down the path God has placed before us. Nevertheless, even though fear may come, we do not need to follow it.
As I have been reading the book of John, God has been showing me an important principle when it comes to walking out His plan for our lives: we need not fear, for His timing is always perfect.
Prior to the above verse in John, Jesus had been going about His Father’s business. Nevertheless, the business He was about confused and upset many. The religious leaders especially wanted to do away with Jesus. They despised him and felt threatened by him. Yet even though they wanted to arrest Jesus, they did not. Why? “Because His hour had not yet come.” There was no rational reason why the religious leaders did not arrest Jesus at that time. It just wasn’t Jesus’ time.
And I believe Jesus knew this. He knew His time was coming, but He also knew it wasn’t yet. So fear didn’t stop Him from going about His Father’s work. He didn’t cower in the corner afraid He might do something that would cause His premature demise. No. He kept going. He kept speaking. He kept sharing. He kept healing. And time and time again, though the leaders wanted to do away with Him, they didn’t. Further on in chapter 7 we read, “Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him“ (John 7:44). Then in John 8, as Jesus continued to speak as the Father instructed Him, we once again read, “but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come” (John 8:20). Even in John 10, when they actually attempted to seize Jesus, “he escaped from their hands” (John 10:39). Why? Because at the time of each of the above, Jesus had not yet accomplished what the Father had called Him to do. Jesus could not be taken until God decided it was time for Jesus to willingly go.
Similarly, when God calls us to a specific place, we must trust that He will keep us safe until the job is done. We need not fear what could possibly happen, for we can fully trust that God already knows what’s next; and if God calls us to what’s next, He will supply all that we need to get through it as well–even if what is next isn’t pretty.
Think about Esther for a moment. She was a young Jewish lady suddenly made queen and just as suddenly faced with quite the decision: to stay silent and possibly perish or to speak up and possibly perish. She chose the latter, and because of her choice, her life was not only spared, but a nation was also saved. I’m sure she must have felt that familiar feeling of fear rise up within her as the severity of the situation washed over her. Yet instead of heeding fear’s ugly voice, she submitted to the voice of her God–a God who was more than able to surround her with the favor and fill her with the boldness necessary to accomplish the purpose He had set forth for her before the world began.
If God calls us to something, then we need not fear it. We need not fear “what might happen” or “what people may think” or “what people may do.” God spared Esther and used her to save a nation. God spared Jesus over and over again until just the right time when He became the Passover Lamb. And God will be with you in whatever circumstance you may find yourself.
God doesn’t promise us a rose garden. He doesn’t promise us an easy path. But He does promise to equip us physically, mentally, and spiritually for whatever path we may be on.
If we trust Him.
So is your husband without a job? Don’t despair. This could be the very catalyst needed to springboard you into an amazing ministry. Is your daughter driven to be a missionary? Hug her tight, but let her go. The eternal impact of her choice is worth the temporary pain of saying good-bye. Is God calling you to leave your current job to pursue something else? Trust Him in it; He promises to supply all your needs. Or maybe you’re feeling ill-equipped for a position? If God’s peace says take it, then take it–even if it doesn’t make sense. Sixteen years ago God told me to take a job I was not particularly fond of, so with trepidation, I took it. Within a week of that decision, the job description changed–changed into something I absolutely loved. Even more, a few short years later, I met my husband through that very place of employment.
Therefore I encourage you today: trust God. Trust His timing. Trust His sovereignty. Trust in His ability to equip you for whatever task He places before you. He does have plans for you. And if He has called you to something you think beyond your reach, beyond your ability, or beyond your comfort zone, then do not fear! If God could prevent Jesus from being stoned, arrested, and thrown over a cliff because “it wasn’t His time,” then He can certainly keep you safe and equip you for such a time as this.