Thursday, October 25, 2007

Facing Fear

I recently received Lisa Whelchel's E-Letter and thought these insights on what God is teaching her was very timely.

So let's get cozy and talk about fear and death. You think I'm kidding? What did you expect, it is October, the month we celebrate Halloween (or not) and All Saints Eve. Either way, the holiday ahead commemorates death and where there is death there is typically fear lurking nearby.

Call me crazy, but I decided this afternoon to talk tonight from Job 3:25, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." I'm speaking at a Christian school fundraiser and I want to share my personal experience regarding money. I can live fairly generously and open-handedly with money because I've lost it all before and when Steve and I hit rock-bottom financially, we discovered that God was there. He filled up the hole with treasure more valuable than money. Not the least of which was His presence.

That is one of the reasons why, at the beginning of this year, I could ask to be released from two book contracts and take a sabbatical from writing, a decision that appears fool-hardy on paper, but I know I have nothing to fear. That which I have greatly feared before--having no money--did come upon me and I survived; even more than that - thrived.

Night before last, I had a humongous decision to make so I called a friend in hopes that by talking it through out loud I would hear myself come up with the right answer. At one point I said, "One thing that has helped me in the past when I've had to make a difficult decision is to remove both money and fear from the equation. For me, those two things often deceptively attract or falsely repel from God's will for my life." Once I asked myself what I would do if I wasn't afraid, I was able to make a decision and act on it.

So, let me be your friend on the other end of the line and allow me to ask you a question. What are you afraid of this month? Use your imagination with me for a moment. Picture yourself in the middle of your fearful circumstances. First, how would you react differently if I could guarantee that God is there and He will come through for you?

1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." I can't promise that God will show up for you the way you think He should or hope He will. But I can tell you from experience that, ultimately, there is nothing you are afraid of that is bigger or more powerful than His love for you.

I've recently learned this truth all over again in a very different situation. I mustered up all my courage and risked facing one of my biggest fears. I was terrified but I chose to jump in. Guess what happened? No, I didn't get on the other side of my fear and wonder what took me so long to trust. Actually, quite the opposite. Everything my fears told me would happen, came true. That which I feared the most came upon me.

But, once again, God was there and He was enough. This loss, rather than confirm that I should listen to my fears in the future, actually made me braver. There is something about coming face-to-face with one of our fears; oftentimes involving a death of sorts, and discovering that God always wins that takes the sting out of the threat: "O Death, where is thy sting?"

I want to share one last scripture from the first chapter of Job, verse twenty-one, that has been meaningful to me lately and I hope it will continue to take the sting out of the fear of death for both of us. "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." God is sovereign and His character is trustworthy.

We truly have nothing to fear. We can live open-handedly. We can stand with courage. We can face our fears. We can stare death down and say, "O Grave, where is thy victory?" So let's celebrate death and fear this month! Because, with Jesus, life is always on the other side of death and Love triumphs over fear. I don't think October contains such a bad holiday, after all. What do you think?


Melissa said...

This is a timely post.

Love triumphs over fear.

Thank you for reminding me.

CampHillGirl said...

This was great. I always like Lisa Welchel. I'm hoping to carry with me the idea of making decisions like money and fear don't matter... because they don't.