I have wrestled with writing this blog post for quite some time. Not because I don’t know what to say, but ironically, because I know exactly what to say and I struggle with this very issue, day in and day out. This topic keeps coming back to me, time and time again, because I face it each day. I am most certainly not an expert on the topic, but I know one thing: I have God’s Word to lean on and draw from. His Word is true and powerful. I also know that by diving in and writing this post, God can speak to me through my own weakness and hopefully someone out there can relate to this post. I pray that God will use my weakness for His glory.
I am afraid sometimes.
I fear that something tragic could happen to my children or husband.
I fear that I am not a good enough mom.
I fear that my children will be fearful.
Sometimes fear consumes me.
I have not even tried to list all of the fears that plague me at times, but I can assure you that the list is long. Some of my fears are rooted deep and have been around since I can remember. Some of them are ridiculous and some are legitimate. Some have actually tapered off over the years. I know that I should not let fear operate within my life, but sometimes I do. Moms…can you relate? In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, I think we have all held our children a bit closer and gained a fresh perspective on how fragile life can be. I avoid turning on the news, because it strikes fear within my heart at times. My heart breaks for those that are suffering or have lost a child, but I quickly become fearful that something could happen to one of my own children or family. Why do we fear? Do we not have faith? Faith that our Lord will sustain us? Jesus, himself, said:
“Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:34
“Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kil the soul; rather, fear HIm who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows.” ~Matthew 10:26-31
I am reminded of the time when Jesus was with his disciples in a boat, at sea, when a great storm came upon them (Mark 4). Jesus was asleep and the disciples were all fearing the worst! They cried out in desperation and doubt, saying to Jesus, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?”. Jesus awoke and, with just a command, silenced the storm. His response to the disciples was, “Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?”. Did Jesus know that the storm was coming? Probably. Did he still maintain control, even amidst crashing waves and fierce wind? Absolutely. The storm came, but God was still sovereign.
We (I) must remember that there will be storms – probably many. We must remember that God is all-knowing and yes, he even knows about the storms. While He knows of the storm, this does not mean that he causes it or wishes us to suffer. No! It is just the opposite. He cares for us. While we may fear the storm, our God does not fear, nor does he forget about us when the waves are crashing. We may think He is not concerned, just as the disciples thought of Jesus, but the truth is that He cares more for us than anyone else possibly could.
“God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the sea.” ~Psalm 46:1-2
“He[the righteous man] will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the Lord. His heart is assured. He will not fear.” ~Psalm 112:7-8
When we have a Heavenly Father, who loves us to the extent of sending His son to pay the price for our wretched sin, how can we doubt his care for us? How can we fear the things of the world, a broken place that is temporary, when we have the eternal hope of Christ?
All fear operates outside the bounds of faith. When we harbor fear, we are doing the opposite of having faith. We are essentially saying that we doubt that God will come through in the midst of the storm. We fear the storm because we doubt our Refuge.
I don’t know what your personal storm is. Perhaps you are in the midst of the waves and feel as if you are being pulled under, or perhaps you are fearfully anticipating a storm that may or may not ever arrive. Let’s all take a deep breath and relax for a minute. Let’s remember that our God is far bigger than any storm, and while the storms may come, He will always be sovereign. If you have a relationship with Him, you have His Spirit, our comforter. While we might be allowed to walk through storms, He will walk beside us and even carry us when we are too weak to walk. His promise is to not leave us or forsake us, “Therefore, we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” ~Hebrews 13:6.
“Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me.” ~Psalm 23:4
Not only do we lack faith when we harbor fear in our lives, but we also hinder what God wants to accomplish through us! Looking back, we see Jonah, who was fearful and ran from God when he was called to go to Nineveh. Ultimately, Jonah went and an entire city turned toward the Lord! We remember Mary, the mother of Jesus, who acquiesced to the will of God and bore His Son! Our Savior! What a frightening responsibility! Paul wrote to the Corinthian church of his own “fear and trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3), yet we see God glorified through Paul’s strengthened faith and willingness to persevere. Fear can be enslaving if we allow it. Do we wish to be enslaved by fear, just as those who have no hope in Christ? For anyone who does not have salvation through Jesus, fear is a real thing and to be expected. Our lives, however, should be marked by hope, confidence and peace. Fear, trepidation and anxiety have no place in the life of a Christ follower!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” ~2 Timothy 1:7
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and there is any praise – dwell on these things.” ~Philippians 4:6-8
Will you join me as we journey toward faith and away from fear?
next week, er…*edited to say that the next blog is in the works, but definitely took longer than a week* for Part 2 in the “Fear” series when we dive into the GOOD kind of fear!