When Afraid of the Unknown
by Noah Hefley
April 10, 2021
Years ago a missionary in Brazil discovered a native tribe in a remote area of the rain forest near a large river. The tribe was in need of serious medical attention. It seems a contagious disease had spread quickly among the people and devastated the population. Many were sick and some were dying.
A hospital was not too far away, across the river, but the tribal group refused to cross because they believed it was inhabited by evil spirits. Entering the water would mean certain death—they thought. The missionary testified how he had crossed the river and was unharmed, but they were unconvinced. Fear of this river was deeply engrained in their culture and had been for years. Well, after much talk, he persuaded them to follow him to the bank of the river. Here they watched the missionary place his hand safely in the water. But still, they wouldn’t go in.
However, the missionary was persistent. He walked into the river up to his waist and splashed water on his face. Even then, it didn’t matter to them. They were still afraid to enter the water. Finally, he dove into the river, swam beneath the surface until he emerged on the other side. He climbed up the bank and punched his fist triumphantly into the air. He had entered the water and escaped. It was then that the natives broke into a loud cheer and followed him across.
I suppose all of us might be a bit afraid of the unknown. It is a threatening thing to go where you have never been and do what you have not done before. You have likely faced something such as this in your life—and, perhaps, are there now. But it sure helps when you know that someone you trust has gone before you and arrived safely. This gives you hope it will be okay. It’s true for many experiences in life.
Even so, that is what Jesus did for us in His death. He entered it, made it safely to the other side, and punched a triumphant fist into the air. He shouted victoriously, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25).
That’s a great promise, but even sweeter than it appears on the surface. You see, Jesus didn’t just stay on the other side. No, you could say, He jumped back in the water and swam back to our side. Now today, dear believer, He is alive and present with us. Even more, one day when it is our turn to face death, He will take us by the hand, come across with us, and bring us safely to the other side. Jesus said, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you may be where I am” (John 14:3). That’s why Peter said, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead¨ (1 Peter 1:3). Because He lives, we will live! That is our certain hope for the future!! Praise and honor to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!!
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