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Red Shield Appeal 2020 - the results are in God's hands

Red Shield Appeal 2020 - the results are in God's hands

Red Shield Appeal 2020 - the results are in God's hands

8 May 2020

Fear of failure is a natural response to any new venture, yet God urges us to overcome our fears with faith in him. Photo: Sincerely Media on Unsplash

By Laurie Robertson

Fear, the Red Shield Appeal (RSA) and God. It was just a few weeks ago that these three aspects of life converged in my world.

Having been ensconced as part of the Territorial Communications Department for two years as well as being an officer for 40 years, I have been in myriad meetings about the RSA. It is one of (if not) the most planned, surveyed, dissected, reviewed, researched and resourced events in The Salvation Army. And it needs to be as the appeal provides millions of dollars every year for the community-impacting and life-transforming ministry of The Salvation Army.

But, in a meeting where it wasn’t all about the RSA, a comment from one of the participants triggered a response from me that brought me back strongly to who I serve and who I trust and who I put my faith in. God.

The discussion centred on what resources and stories were being produced for the RSA and how this year there had been the need to (very late in the fundraising campaign) change everything, involving a massive amount of time and effort. Out of the blue, someone commented that they feared – “What if the new campaign doesn’t work?”

My immediate response was to say I appreciate the huge amount of strategy and energy that goes into the RSA, but as a Christian and for The Salvation Army as a Christian movement, we mustn’t forget that God is right in there with us. Ultimately it is up to him. Yes, we must plan, we must use our skills and intelligence because he wants us to be involved. However, we can’t control the outcome.

What I was trying to bring out is that we mustn’t let fear overcome faith. I know that much prayer and pleading goes into RSA planning and activities. We seek God’s wisdom and uplifting. We ask for his direction and inspiration. Yet when trouble strikes we often rush to our humanity. We worry, we do more research, we look at the latest business models and strategies. It is only after we are well down this track that many of us remember we haven’t gone to God.

Of course, this doesn’t only happen around the RSA. I have done it throughout my life and have been with many, many others who have followed this ‘rely on myself’ human response, time after time.

There is no doubt we must put every faculty we have available into problem-solving. However, a key question for me is: why am I now furiously doing everything at breakneck speed, getting worked up, perhaps panicking, defensively reactive and in super fix-it mode, or the other extreme – simply frozen, not knowing what to do? Is it out of fear of failure?

Where is faith in God? As someone who believes God is real and wants personal interaction with me, that leads to growing more like him, doesn’t it make sense to delve into him – especially when in crisis?

The Bible is full of people saying that we must pray because God is our refuge, God is our provider, God is our strength, God is our wisdom, God has a plan and God will pick us up when we fall.

It also has loads of instruction concerning using all the gifts, abilities, skills, thinking capacity, common sense, innovation and ingenuity we have to make the most of life as we follow God.

It’s not either/or – fear or faith. A healthy fear that we can’t do life – especially the tough parts – by ourselves is absolutely fine when it is deliberately drenched in faithfully following God through Jesus Christ.

Fear and faith can work beautifully together. I urge us all – individually and corporately as The Salvation Army – to move through fear to faith-filled action. The results are in God’s hands and my experience is that God’s outcomes outdo my aims, dreams, plans, purposes every time.

What does God want for the RSA in 2020? Whatever the outcome is, Jesus will make it more than enough as we do what he asks. Remember the five fish and two loaves?

And, by the way, it is not too late to get involved in the RSA Digital Doorknock. Go to digitaldoorknock.salvationarmy.org.au

Faith and works in tandem as we present Christ to a community in need.

Lieut-Colonel Laurie Robertson is Editor-in-Chief.

 

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