Saturday, February 20, 2010

What to do When You're Afraid

By Mary Vee
Genesis 32:1-12

Jacob continued moving his family through the mountains toward his home. With all the children, herds, servants, and belongings, their progress was a little faster than a rout of snails crossing a beach.

Jacob met with some of his servants that night. "I need you to take a message to my brother in Edom. Tell him: I have lived with Uncle Laban until now. I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, and male and female servants. I am sending these messengers to ask if I have found favor in your sight."

The servants nodded. "We'll leave right away."

Many days passed before the messengers returned. Jacob's hands felt sticky from sweat. His heart pounded.

He called the messengers over. "What did my brother say?"

"He said he is coming to meet you. We watched him gather 400 men."

Jacob trembled. He's bringing 400 men? Surely he plans to kill all of us. What am I going to do?

Jacob stopped the camels and found a place to set up camp. The children ran around
playing games while the mothers made dinner. Jacob walked out a ways from the camp with a few trusted servants."

The children's laughter sounded above the donkey's braying. Jacob chuckled. "If only I knew they would be safe."

A servant nodded. "What would you like to do?"

Jacob stroke his beard. "I'm thinking if we divide all the people, flocks, herds, and camels into two companies, some will survive. When Esau comes to the one company and attacks, the other group will have time to escape."

"Good plan. If you'd like I'll divide the animals."

Jacob sighed. "Yes. Yes, that would be fine. I'll divide the people. Jacob took a few steps further. "You can return to the camp. I'll be back in a little while."

Jacob walked a distance further. The sun had set, leaving a red and orange glow in the sky.

He fell to his knees and let his head flop into his hands. "O God of my father Abraham and Isaac. You are the Lord who said to me 'Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you.' I am not worthy of the mercy and truth you have shown me. I crossed over this Jordan River. Now I've become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother. I'm afraid he will come and attack me and my family. O Lord, You said, 'I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which will be so many it cannot be numbered."

Jacob knelt quietly for a few more minutes then stood. He took a deep breath of the cool night air. A few birds twittered in a nearby tree.

Although his mouth was dry and his hands still sticky, his heart slowed its beat. He turned back to the camp and saw his son Reuben walking toward him.

Reuben waved his arm. "Father, dinner is ready."

Jacob tipped his neck back and forth. The stiffness had left. He smiled. "Good! I'm starved.

As Jacob ate he announced to the family, "Tomorrow we'll meet my brother, Esau. Since our group is so large, it will be difficult for my brother to greet us all. We'll split into two groups and rejoin further down the road. Get a good night's sleep, I want you to look good tomorrow."

What did Jacob do when he became afraid? How did that help him? Click on the comment button to tell of a time when you were afraid.


  1. I was afraid one time when my husband was a pastor and we had to leave the church because he was sick and couldn't handle it anymore. We had no place to go, no home, no job, and a sick husband. The children were all in a Christian school and I got a job. Everything is a blur to me, but God provided in many ways and we survived.

  2. Kathy,
    Thank you for sharing this comment, especially that God provided for you in many ways and that you survived.
    Someone else reading this comment may be in the middle of a difficult situation and are afraid. Seeing your comment may be exactly what they needed to read. Thank you for posting a comment.
    Mary Vee

  3. Once I had this very big scary monster in my room and I prayed to God and he took it away the next night.

    Once I was out in the woods and there was this big wall of junk but soon I saw that it was only rocks. I was afraid that that whole thing of rocks was going to fall on me. I prayed to God. A few days later I heard God saying don't fear, it's just because your eyes are making it look like one rock is wobbling.
    p.s. I have my first loose tooth!

    1. Ella,
      I have a feeling you have a very special parent who has taught you what to do when you are afraid. Wow. Isn't God so wonderful that He has given you this person?

      I hava a challenge for you Ella. Ask the person who taught you to pray what they did the last time they were afraid. I have a strong feeling they will tell you they, too, chose to pray and the fear ran away. God has blessed you, Ella :)

      And now I feel blessed because you told me what God did for you.
      Mary Vee

      Hi. Our eyes can make things look different than they really are. Like the rocks you saw. There is a verse in the Bible that says people look at what is on the outside, but God looks at what is on the inside (our hearts). God knew what was really there when you looked at the rocks. I think He smiled and gave you a big hug when He told you to not be afraid. We have a very loving God.

      Here is a special verse for you: Zephaniah 3:17--
      The Lord your God in your midst,
      The Mighty One, will save;
      He will rejoice over you with gladness,
      He will quiet you with His love,
      He will rejoice over you with singing.

      Isn't that a wonderful verse?
      Mary Vee


We like to read what you learned about the story today. Remember, God loves you very much!