Take courage-I am here. Matthew 14:27
Fearless by Max Lucado
We're afraid of all kinds of things: death, finances, health concerns, heartache, losing a spouse or a child, jobs, other people, addicitions, the past, the present, the future etc.
Thank you for sharing your lists with me. Here's mine.
I'm afraid of:
-Dying before I've really lived
-Sacrifices I'm making now not paying off in the future.
And ultimately that
-I will disappoint the Lord with the life He has given me
Some of my favorite people in scripture are the disciples. I totally relate to their crazy ways. I love when the disciples don't get it. I love when Jesus is standing right in front of them and they doubt him. I love when Jesus says come out on the water - Peter hesitates. I love when they're so sure they won't mess up and they do-over and over again. I love when they promise to stay awake and pray and they don't. I LOVE THEM! They're so human! And they make me feel better about myself :)
Whenever I feel lonely, afraid, or abandoned I always think of the moment in the lives of the disciples when Jesus is there-and then He's gone. Can you imagine how they must have felt? I mean you've just spent YEARS with the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the best friend you'll ever have and now he's physically gone? What do you do next? I can't help but think in that moment that they were a little fearful. They've just had the best spiritual support-like really the best! They've had someone to pray with and love them and help them. They've had the perfect example. And now they have each other! Uhhhhhhh-not the same! They had to wonder if they could make it without Him holding their hand. They had to wonder if they'd be able to please Him without Him walking with them. And I think they were afraid.
Letting go of fear is ultimately to let go of perceived control-always has been-always will be. Satan loves to wrap other words around fear to make it more palatable-cautious, concerned, careful. Lie, lie, lie. Satan is robbing us with every mention of fear. If we are afraid that our spouse or child will die before us then we are being robbed of the time we have with them. If we are afraid of the future we are robbed of the blessings and need God has for us to be truly alive today. If we are afraid of imagined things (guilty!) we cannot properly process our current surroundings and we're robbed of the lessons in the real things.
And what I've discovered overwhelmingly this month while reading this book is that Fear and Trust have to walk hand in hand. I feel like that shouldn't be a huge revelation to me, but it kind of was. If we could really hear the Lord saying to all of our What if's-"Don't be afraid"-we'd never be the same. Think about it.
I'm afraid to die-Don't be afraid I've given you eternal life in Me.
I'm afraid to be sick-Don't be afraid I am with you always.
I'm afraid of the future-Don't be afraid I am already there
I'm afraid of the world today-Don't be afraid, I have overcome the world
Etc. Etc. Etc. Fill in the blank with your own fears.
My prayers have changed as I've read this book from asking the Lord to reveal what I'm afraid of to grant me in exchange a holy fear of Him. I can almost feel a physical shift in my spirit every time I pray for it. And as a holy fear of Him gets bigger, the smaller fears subside.
It's important to ask yourself why you're afraid of certain things. Are you afraid of getting cancer because your parent(s) died of the disease? If that motivates you to have regular check ups then it's a good thing. If it makes you afraid of every ache and pain it's a bad thing. Are you afraid of financial insecurity? If it motivates you to be a good steward it's a good thing. If it makes you afraid to meet daily needs it's a bad thing. Beat Satan at his own game. Use his intentions for fear as a great opportunity to trust the Lord.
I can tell you my life story from beginning to end by theme with the Lord. There have been some themes that have been short lived and others that have gone on seemingly forever. For several years now and especially lately it has been "Strength for today." I don't feel like I'm handling a lot of things particularly well at the moment, but I can hear the spirit of the Lord whisper to me all the time-"Strength for today." Today is enough to worry about, isn't it? I don't want to miss what the Lord has planned for this life today because who knows what tomorrow will bring.
One of my psych professors in college taught us this little exercise that I've been doing before I go to sleep almost every night for years. He said, "Take a deep breath in and breathe in the love of God. Let it get all the way into the very core of your soul. Then breathe out fear, anxiety, and stress. Feel yourself letting go." Particularly when I can't sleep it has made a huge difference. It sounds silly-it works amazingly well. Try it!
Jesus, you know what our fears are. You know where they came from and you know why we hang onto them. You know what's around the next corner and you offer us your presense to buffer the scary things of this life. Would you meet us right where we are today? Would you surround us with the comfort that trust in you can bring? Would you help us to exchange the fear of this world with a holy fear of You? We are at our very best still human. You know that and you love us anyway and we thank you for that. You are trustworthy. You are and always have been more than enough for us. Whisper to us when we are overwhelmed, "don't be afraid." And help us to believe you. Amen.