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Go in Love

Go in Love


There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 (NIV)

I was about eight years old. My brother, Keaton, came to get me from a friend’s house down the road. As we were walking home, we bumped into a few other kids who were a little older than us. One of them grabbed my skateboard from my hand and started skating on it. Keaton grabbed the skateboard out from under the kid who took it from me. Well, the other kids didn’t like that. And as they began walking closer to me, Keaton yelled, “Run!” So, I ran.

We were about one block from our house, which was at the top of the hill. I came in crying, telling my family what had happened. We all ran out to go check on Keaton, who was strolling back home. He was fine. Somehow, he had scared the kids away.

I learned something that day: when I was with Keaton, I was safe. No matter what I encountered, Keaton was there—it’s who he was, and still is.

What if being without fear actually means I am full of love?

Often, family can give us a picture of God and His relationship with us. A big brother telling a little brother to run means, “I’ve got this, you go.” And I went, because I was with a brother who kept me safe and without need to fear.

If I am without fear, it means I have something else inside of me and that fear has no place. Well, I often think being fearless means I am courageous, brave, strong, or have an unwavering confidence. But what if that isn’t true? What if being without fear actually means I am full of love

Throughout history, we’ve seen God send His people to different places. Soon after, though, difficulties arise. And in these moments, there are two options. Trust in the One you’re with. Or create your own plan.

God took Israel out of Egypt, but soon after, they began to not trust the One who went with them in a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud, the One who separated the sea so they could walk through. They began to build idols and forgot about the promise spoken over Abraham. As they were going, they forgot who they were with, they grew afraid, and they started making their own plans.

When I think about faithful followers of God, though, I think about Esther approaching the king’s throne unannounced on behalf of her people, not knowing if she’d be killed for doing so. I think about Joseph having a dream given to him and it taking decades of imprisonment and hardship for the dream to come to fruition.

These are people God sent to places that were not their own. However, they remained with God and He with them. And because they remained with Him as they went, they were enveloped in His love and did not allow fear to rule the day. Joseph faithfully worked for Pharoah, and Esther worked on behalf of her people from within the palace, knowing it could cost her life.

Two young boys walking down a path, the older one with his arm resting on the shoulders of the younger.

This is the work of missionaries. Well, this is your work, too. Maybe you’re in a place you didn’t plan on being. God uprooted you at some point from something that felt comfortable and familiar. And here you are, in a land that is not your own, with a people who are not your own. More bluntly—you’re in a job, in a relationship, or a neighborhood you did not expect to be in. You look around every day and wish the circumstance were different or that you could escape from this.

We cling to verses like: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). And we think these verses are a promise that God will pluck us out of our present circumstances. But we have to remember that before the Lord uttered these words, we see that it was God who carried these people into a place that wasn’t their own (Jeremiah 29:4), and this means that they shouldn’t seek to escape from their present circumstances. In fact, God tells the people to make their homes, work the ground, marry, have children, for their children to get married and have children (Jeremiah 29:5–6), to work toward peace in this place, and to pray for its wellbeing (Jeremiah 29:7). In other words, they are being instructed to put down deep roots and love the place they’re in.

To be sure, God does have plans for you and for me. But where we are now matters. And the well-being of the people around us matters. As we live out the kingdom of God where we are today, we need to remember that it is God who commissions us to go into the world. It is He who remains with us, and we remain with Him. And it is because of this truth that we can go with Him without fear and full of love to the places He has called us.


PRAY: Where does God have you? Is it somewhere that—like the Israelites—you don’t want to be? Maybe it’s a job you don’t feel called to, a difficult relationship, or a city that doesn’t feel like home. No matter the situation, ask God to begin to give you His heart for your surroundings, so that you can pray for and work toward the flourishing of the people you are with and the place you are in.

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