One of the earliest Motivational Preachers of the 20th Century was Rev. Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), whose most famous book, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” made him a household name. As pastor of the Marble Collegiate Church, he was President Donald J. Trump’s pastor for almost 50 years, and many today compare Pastor Joel Osteen, Senior Minister of Lakewood Church, America’s largest congregation in Houston, Texas, to Peale’s positive thinking ministry and writings.
In one of his articles, Peale made this statement: “Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”1 This is in complete contrast to those who say, “Wait! Don’t do anything! Everything will work out alright in the end.” I’m sure glad Noah didn’t have that attitude. Nor was Abraham inclined to think the same way. Neither was David motivated to consider saying to the giant Goliath, “Let me go home and think about what you said about our God and when I come back you may have changed your mind.” And what about Joshua? How do you think things would have turned out if he had said to God, “We don’t need to walk around these walls of Jericho, they already look old and crumbly. Just give us some more time, and I’m sure they’ll fall down on their own.” No need to go on, I’m sure you get the point.
One of the most salient points Dr. Peale makes is his conclusion is this: inaction causes fear. A contemporary of Dr. Peale’s, Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) expressed the same thought, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.” So it isn’t so much that a person is too busy to respond to a growing crisis, nor is it that they have some magic formula that heals everything over time. It is fear that stops them in their tracks. And the only way to overcome fear is to face it head-on. If this is not done, then our natural instinct to run and hide will kick in. Not only that, but the longer one waits, the more time the brain has to manufacture doubts and fears, piling them one on top of the other.
The best way out is to look for a plan. If we don’t have one ourselves, look for one that has been known to work. Then modify it to fit your situation. Once you put it into action, if it doesn’t quite work out as planned the first time, tinker with it, make some changes and try again. Eventually, you’ll find the right formula. How long will this take? Until you break through and conquer your fears and go on to bigger and better things.
So as a Christian, what should we do when fear and doubt paralyzes us into doing nothing. Do we close our eyes, pray, and then hope for the best? Let the words God gave the Prophet Jeremiah to put in his letter to those Jews who had been carried off into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and who now faced a bleak future as God’s children. First, he warned them not to let prophets of doom and the fortune-tellers to begin influencing them in what they did. Rather, listen to what God gave Jeremiah to tell His people: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not turmoil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that when the right time comes, you will call out for Me, and I will hear. You will pray, and I will listen. You will intently look for Me, and you will find Me.”2
As a child of God, you are not alone in this world. First of all, you have a loving, caring, compassionate, heavenly Father looking down on you at all times. Secondly, you have your Savior, Jesus Christ, standing next to the Father interceding for you. Thirdly, you have the Holy Spirit living in you and continuously on-call to guide you, inform you, and to carry your prayers directly to God. Fourthly, there are dozens of ministers and counselors just waiting for you to give them a call. And fifthly, you have hundreds of brothers and sisters right in your neighborhood who would be more than happy to stand with you in prayer. Sixth, you have God’s Word right in front of you to read and search for direction in navigating through your uncharted waters, And seventh, you have God’s angels assigned to you to pick you up in case you stumble and fall.
The Apostle Paul had a young protégé named Timothy who was also facing his own fears. But the great Apostle had these words for him, and they are valid for you as well. He wrote, “You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit.”3 So whatever fears or doubts you may be dealing with. Look them straight in the eye and tell them, “I will not be intimidated! I am not afraid of you! I am a child of the Most High God. I have a Divine Spirit in me, above me, and around me, that will fight for me. So out of my way, fear! I’m moving forward toward God’s destiny for my life.” – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1 As quoted in: The Reader’s Digest, “Trouble: Whetstone of Life Adversity” by Norman Vincent Peale, Volume 82, 1963, p. 146,
2 Jeremiah 29:11-13
3 2 Timothy 1:7 – The Voice Version