Fear: such a small word for something that can be so big, so real, so controlling. But it starts small, it comes creeping in and we don’t even notice it at first, we can’t put a name on it, until it has us gripped in it’s icy fingers, and then we feel helpless to do anything because now it seems so big. Fear is something that we all experience in one form or another, and it is something that God has been teaching me about lately.
The sermon last week was on fear and anxiety, he said fear comes down to, being afraid you won’t get what you want, or being afraid you will get what you don’t want. So in it’s most basic form fear is about not having control. As I have written before I have been on a journey with God to learn to trust him, to learn to leave my life in his hands. What I have learned lately is that is a lot easier said then done. I know in my head that God loves so very much, that he will never leave me. And because of that he has my best interested in mind, and he is not going to take me somewhere where I can not trust him to take care of me. That was relatively easy to believe when my life wasn’t going anywhere. And even when I started to move, I could trust because I knew God’s hand was in it, but as things move on I find myself trying to grab on to anything that I can to have some sense of security, some sense of control. It is like being on a roller coaster, when you have a harness over you that you know will hold you in, but yet when it gets fast we hold onto the handles for dear life, thinking that somehow we can help keep ourselves safe, when instead we should throw our hands in the air and enjoy the ride.
I was struck yesterday by how fast I can go from professing faith and trust in God, to being paralyzed by fear and doubt. It is absolutely crazy, but I don’t think I am alone in this. Peter got out of the boat, fully trusting in his Jesus, but yet in the middle of the miracle of him walking on the water the doubted, and he sank just like that. This makes me feel better, if Peter who had Jesus standing right in front of him could be trapped by fear, maybe I am not such a failure. Fear is part of the human nature; otherwise God wouldn’t have to tell us so many times in the Bible to “fear not” or “do not be afraid”. The thing that the pastor said, that I need to work on embracing is that “The answer to fear is not more faith, it is a Father” Faith is the opposite of fear, if we had complete and utter perfect faith in God we would never fear, but we are human and fear comes creeping in. So what do we do then, when these two opposites are warring within us? The key is to run to our Father, to go to him and say, “I am scared” If we understand the nature of a loving Father we can do this because we know he is not going to condemn us because we doubt, he is going to gather us in his arms and remind us of how much he loves us. And that love is what is going to cast out the fear.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out Abba, Father! (Romans 8:15)
There is no fear in love; instead perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. (1 John 4:18)
I need to learn to cry out to my Father and allow his perfect love to drive out my fear. I have not reached perfection, but each time I cry out to Him and allow him to take the fear from me, I get one step closer.