I’m going to blatantly steal from Pastor John the next couple of days, from his sermon The Word of God Is At Work In You.
His closing remarks were very practically and particularly helpful:
It helps me to have an acronym called APTAT.
A — I admit I can’t in myself do what needs to be done.
P — I pray for God’s help.
T — I trust a particular promise he has given.
A — I act to do whatever God is calling me to do.
T — I thank him for his help when I am done.
So here’s how it works.
The Temptation of Fear
God has called you do something. You know it’s right, but you’re afraid. What do you do?
You admit honestly and humbly: “I am afraid and I cannot do this by myself.” Then you pray: “O God, grant me courage. Please don’t let me be ruled by fear. Take it away.”
Then you call to mind a specific, tailor-made, blood-bought promise that Christ has guaranteed for you by his blood: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). You trust this promise. You say to God, “I take this promise for myself. I trust you. You are now my help.”
And you act. You act, believing that God, the Holy Spirit, is acting in you by his word through your faith. And when you are done, you bow your head and say, “Thank you. Thank you.”
Fear is something I know; I’m guessing you do as well. In fact, with Paul’s seizures seeming to have returned, I’m often thinking about how much I don’t want to return to what happened this past summer.
A – I don’t want him to hurt like that again and I’m afraid. I can’t do anything about them. I can’t help him. His body hurts; he hurts; I hurt.
P – Lord, please help him. Help me know what to do.
T – I frequently go to this verse: “in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16 ESV). I remember that God knows his days, including the hardest days, and that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39 ESV). The days are hard, yet we will say with God that it was all worth it.
A – We clean him up, and make sure he is safe and warm and as comfortable as he can be. Dianne pursues his good through doctors and medicine. We don’t stop pursuing his good.
T – It is easy to thank God for this boy, and for the help that God provides; “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 ESV).
And we live ‘as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing’ (2 Corinthians 6:10).