Apr 30, 2015
We are thrilled to be in Abu Dhabi.
The people are friendly, the food is amazing, the skyline is spectacular, and the gulf waters are beautiful.
And we have been warmly welcomed and loved and helped in countless ways by our new friends.
But in spite of all that, there is uncertainty and lack of familiarity —
- what’s a kilogram, and how many kilograms of deli meat should we buy?
- where will we live?
- what kind of car should we buy?
- what’s 23 dirhams in dollars?
- what’s the best way to call my parents?
- what will this new church plant look like?
As a result, one morning I woke up with my heart overwhelmed by insecurity, fear, and doubt — flaming darts of the evil one, just like Paul described in Ephesians 6:17.
So what could I do? Here’s what Paul said —
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.
So I needed to take up the shield of faith — which means praying over God’s promises until my faith is strengthened.
Taking up the Shield
So I got up, made some tea, sat down, and prayed –
Father, thank you that I can come to you just as I am, and by faith in Christ alone be forgiven, loved, welcomed, and helped.
Strengthen my faith through your word. Crush the unbelief behind my insecurity, fear, and doubt. Give me a fresh outpouring of your Spirit.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Then I opened my Bible, and turned to the first passage assigned by my reading plan — Joshua 1-2.
It was exactly what I needed to hear –
I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous. (vv.5-6)
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (v.9)
I thought about how, amidst all the uncertainty and unfamiliarity, God was here.
Not only was he here, he would use all this to bring us great good, and would give us all the strength we needed in the meantime.
Therefore, I did not need to be frightened or dismayed. Instead I could be strong and courageous — in him.
As I prayed over those verses,I could feel the Holy Spirit strengthening my faith.
My next assigned reading was Psalm 72, in which the author prays for and describes the king which God had promised to Israel.
I was stirred by verse 12 –
For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
Since Jesus is the ultimate king promised to Israel, this verse points to Jesus.
So whenever we are feeling needy, poor, or helpless, Jesus will deliver us whenever we call upon him.
That means he will deliver ME when I call upon him.
So I called upon him — asking him to strengthen me, to give me grace to handle all the changes, and to confirm our call to Abu Dhabi.
As I prayed I could feel my heart fill with his peace and strength.
My next reading was Mark 1:1-8. John’s words about Jesus, in v.8, specially strengthened me —
I baptized you with water but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
So I prayed for a fresh baptism of the Spirit — that I could once again see and feel Christ as my all-satisfying Treasure, and as the one who promises to take care of my every need in this new country.
God gave me passion to pray for this — and a confidence that he would answer, which strengthened my faith even more.
1 Corinthians 1
My final reading was 1 Corinthians 1:1-17. I stopped and lingered when I came to v.8 —
[Our Lord Jesus Christ] will sustain you to the end.
Isn’t it good news that Jesus will sustain us, and that we don’t have to sustain ourselves?
So I cried out to Jesus — pleading with him to sustain me, hold me up, and help me.
So what happened to those flaming darts of insecurity, fear, and doubt?
Honestly, at this point they were gone — replaced by peace, strength, and hope.
I knew God was for me, that he would take care of every concern, and that he would give me everything I needed.
All I had done was wield the shield of faith, by praying over God’s promises.
And just as God promised, God used that shield of faith to extinguish every flaming dart I was facing.
And he will do the same for you.
I’d love to hear them, although I might not be able to respond. Leave a reply below — thanks.
If you know someone this would help, email it to them using the “share” button below. Or use the other buttons to share it on your favorite social media.
If you would like to interact with others who are seeking to live by faith in Christ, visit our Forums page.
If you would like to receive a Saturday email summarizing the week’s posts — go to the top right of this page, fill in your email address, and click the “Submit” button. (I will only use your email address for Living By Faith Blog communications, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.)