[This is week 6 of The Minecraft Devotional]
This has to be the scariest place I have ever been in a video game. There is lava everywhere, zombie pigmen are giving me a funny look, a ghast is firing at me from somewhere in the sky, and a magma cube is headed my way. I can see the portal that will take me back home if I can only make it there in time. Just as I’m about to go through it, a ghast shoots it and knocks it out. Now I am stuck in the nether, my food is running out, the bad guys are swarming, and I am alone.
Just when I am about to lose hope, I remember that I have an iron ingot in my inventory and that there was a patch of gravel just over that hill. I break the gravel until I get a piece of flint. With an iron ingot and a piece of flint I can make “flint and steel” which I can use to power the nether portal again and finally get home. The scariest day of my Minecraft life has ended.
I still don’t enjoy going to the nether. It is a dark and scary place where it is hard to find something good or positive. Even when I feel like I have everything under control, I am only one broken block away from falling into a lava pit. It is not a place where you want to spend much time either. The goal is almost always to get in, and get out as quickly as possible. The nether can remind us of a few lessons though. Let’s consider a few of them.
The World Can Be Scary
Have you ever seen a “Beware of dog” sign? When I do, I am usually a little afraid of what kind of dog it might be. I remember one time I was afraid until a tiny chihuahua came running out. Other times we are afraid of storms, criminals, and many other things. Thankfully, we have ways of being safe from all of them. Thanks to meteorologists and police officers, we don’t have to be as afraid of some things. They work to keep us safe whenever we may be afraid or in danger.
Sometimes we are afraid because we have to stand in front of a group of people and talk about something. The prophet Jeremiah was the same way. When God told him that he was going to be a prophet and go talk to a lot of people, Jeremiah said, “I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth” (Jeremiah 1:6). God’s response to him was, “Do not be afraid…for I am with you to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1:8). When God is on our side, we don’t need to be afraid.
Fear Can Hold Us Back
What if I never went to the Nether in Minecraft because I was afraid of what would happen there? I would never be able to brew potions, have certain resources, defeat the wither boss, and many other achievements would never be obtained. All because I was afraid of what might be there. If we let fear hold us back, we will not be able to reach our full potential of what we can become in a game, or in real life. The Bible never tells us that our life will be fear-free, but it does give us hope that we can overcome that fear and achieve great things with our life.
Fear is real. It is something that we all deal with at some point, and there is nothing wrong with that. Thankfully, we do have ways of overcoming fear. One of my favorite things that Jesus said is found in John 16:33 when He says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Tribulation is big word that basically means trouble, or something we might be afraid of. His advice to His disciples was that it will be ok because in the end, He had already defeated everything they may fear.
When we are no longer afraid of something, it helps us to go further in our life. Once Jeremiah overcame his fear of talking to people, he was able to reach entire nations through being a prophet for God. Imagine what we can do if we overcome our fears.
The Final Block
When you were younger, you were afraid of more things than you are now. Maybe you were afraid of the dark a few years ago and have since realized that the dark really isn’t so bad. That is a sign of growth. As we grow and learn, things we were afraid of before might not be so scary to us anymore. Remember these comforting words from God and it might be helpful in overcoming some of your fears.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
- What are you most afraid of and what could help you to overcome those fears?
What are some things that we should still be afraid of?
Read Isaiah 43:1 again and think about what the tough situations in life are like when we have God with us.