As a child, I was never scared of the dark. Thunderstorms were delightful and exciting. Monster nightmares did not send me running for help. There were no phantom boogiemen under my bed waiting to ambush a little girl.
The answer to why many of the things with a reputation for scaring some folks, but do not make a blip on my emotional screen, may lie in a grandmother’s total matter-of-fact acceptance that faith and fear cannot exist in the same place at the same time. The armor of her unwavering trust and assurance in God’s word must have extended to me from example and shielded me from the trauma of childhood anxieties.
She was a prayer warrior, a woman who asked the Lord’s protection on every succeeding generation in her family. That’s the only thing that accounts for the relative safety I enjoyed in the years I opted to walk without a nod in God’s direction.
Everything seemed to be going pretty well without a relationship with Him on a daily basis, so I embraced a healthy young woman’s independent stance and sailed on with that worldly confidence borne of spiritual ignorance. A sudden and dramatic detour sent my smooth trip through life in a whole new direction; one for which I had no map and no idea how to carry on.
One day I was brimming with energy and in love with my job and future; the next, I was lethargic and barely able to get through an eight-hour shift at work. I remember lying on a faux leather sofa in the pretty furnished basement apartment I rented and moaning with fever and head-to-toe pain.
My dear aunt and uncle very tenderly led me to their car and drove me to the hospital for surgery to diagnose a chronic disease known to wrap a person in fatigue and extreme muscle/joint discomfort. Still, nothing about that made me fearful. Even after the doctor told me there was a problem and it had a name, it never occurred to me to ask, “Why me?” Why not me?
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
While resting in my private hospital room, recuperating from the diagnostic invasion, I spent a long time watching a little bird work diligently to build a nest in the eaves. She flew back and forth countless times getting ready for her purpose. I wondered how she knew what to do to fulfill that destiny.
Like a quiet breeze flowing over a calm ocean, the idea that I needed guidance even more than she washed over me ever so gently. With no flash of insight written in the sky, it was if I simply stepped back from the helm of my compromised lifeboat and said, “You steer, Lord. I’m taking a nap.” Fear was not present.
I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears (Psalm 34:4)
Through the years of having a family, and then one day not having one, to financial, physical, and emotional hardships I had never envisioned, my trip through stormy waters has kept me holding on tight and remembering not to mutiny the Lord’s ship. He paddles. I bail water, repair sails, fish, take orders from the Captain of my soul, and believe, without a doubt, I will land safely on the other side.
Evil principalities of the air do not put fear in me; nor angry misguided humans, nor wild animals, not even swarms of bees. Thank you Lord!
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
Though very few earthly situations make me fearful, there is a spiritual knot of fear in my heart for those who do not understand how the Creator of the universe has anything to do with them. Am I trying the best I can to be accountable and tell them there is life after bodily death?
Paul gives us strength to fulfill that Great Commission from a place where fear cannot reside:
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confidence and hope through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
…and we will fear not!
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