Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. Genesis 15:1
A friend who has a real hunger for God struggles with the fear that her search for God will only result in ultimate disappointment. As I read her heart cry, I thought of the words of A. W. Tozer, who wrote, "In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: …there are to be found increasing numbers of person whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself."
Do you, like the friend who wrote, struggle with the whole issue? Yes, you have a genuine hunger for God. You long to know Him, to walk with Him, to be used by God, yet--and this is the quandary--you're held back by fear, hesitant to really turn loose, wondering if the end of the search will result in disappointment, in rejection, in greater uncertainty.
There are several steps to having a relationship with God. The 1st Guideline is getting to know God's Son, Jesus Christ, which means peeling away the layers of misconceptions. Guideline #2: Overcome your fear of God. These fears center in several clusters: Your fear of being rejected by God--turned away at the door, not good enough, unable to please Him, unable to satisfy Him, your fear of what God may expect of you, and your fear of embarking on this journey to find God, much like someone who takes a long spiritual pilgrimage, then, comes to the end of the journey with empty hands and heart.
Some fears are rational and some are completely without foundation, but being told, "That's silly! There's nothing to fear," doesn't help when you've been to the dentist and you have experienced the searing, burning drill in the hand of the dentist when it hit the nerve in your tooth as you jumped six inches off the dentist's chair. You've been there, you know.
Yes, I can find plenty of people to testify that having your tooth drilled can be painful (at least, that's the way it used to be) but I've been working with people for more than forty years, and I'm still waiting to find the first person who can honestly tell me, "Jesus Christ was a big disappointment to me--just didn't work!"
Is the fear of rejection a real one? May God ask more of me than I can deliver? Or should I ask, "More than I want to deliver?" In coping with that first fear, ask, "Have I personally experienced disappointment with God?" You also need to ask, "Have I unfairly blamed Him for what I or others were responsible for?"
I recommend that you take a journal and put things down in black and white so you can record your thoughts, what you pray for, and what God does in your life. Jesus made a promise, a pointed one, when He said, "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own" (John 7:17).
A closing thought. A study of the phrase "fear not" or "don't be afraid" in the Bible, almost always is connected to His presence, His power, or His performance. You find the words, "Fear not, for I will…" or "Fear not for I have…" or "Fear not for I am…" so ultimately the answer to your fear is confidence in the integrity of God Himself.
As the songwriter put it, "There's no disappointment in Jesus." So your search will be rewarded, and when you embark on the search with sincerity, it's usually a rather short one because He's there to find you! For whoever seeks, finds and whoever finds is rewarded! God's promise is still valid: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).
Resource reading: Jeremiah 29:10-14