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June 30, 2009 / beidson

Sudden Terror: A Litmus Test For Unwavering Confidence In Christ

If you were in a mall somewhere in Normal City, America, and a man pulled a gun on you and shoved it down your throat, wouldgun you wish that you had lived your life differently?  Even more, what exactly would it be that you would regret most?  Would it even be something you had done that morning?  Or maybe a secret sin that would no doubt be exposed when you were no longer around to cover it up?  If you would fear regret at that moment, then you need to change something in your life.

Sudden terror has a way of narrowing our priorities, of revealing what is most important to us, and even those things which should not be so important to us.  For us who hope in the conquering, prevailing power of Jesus, we should not fear sudden terror:  “Do not be afraid of sudden terror or the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught” (Prov. 3:25).  “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).  Jesus himself was arrested “suddenly”, in the dark of the night, by surprise, as it were.  But his face had already been set toward the cross; there was no reason to fear death–he had already embraced it.

Likewise, we are to embrace death, and give up on everything that would keep us from moving toward it with joy and gladness.  Aren’t we to set aside the sin which so easily entangles us and endure suffering?  We cannot be filled with hope and joy when a gun barrel is aimed at our head if we are cherishing sin, or neglecting weighty matters in life.  You cannot smile at cancer if you love living more than dying, that is, if you love avoiding death rather than embracing it.  When terror comes, trivial passions flee like the band of faithless disciples who left Jesus alone to die.  Only a rock-solid confidence in the resurrecting power of God in Christ can give us the courage to turn away from our beloved sin, and turn with hope toward the end of a madman’s pistol.

If it happened to you today, would you be afraid of the sudden terror?  If you answer “yes”, then you have failed the test.  Come to grips with God now, and plead for the grace to change your wayward heart.  Do not rest in your cowardice, for without notice, it may be all you’re left to stand on, and cowards don’t rejoice when suffering and death hunt them down.  Only those who trust in him who has endured the cross already, for our sake, can with holy delight as a madman threatens to snatch our lives away.  We do not fear sudden terror.  We only fear him who has conquered the threat of sudden terror.

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