Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On being afraid

"...this strong, passionate sense of the nearness of our God; firm in this conviction, the controversies of the day will interest but not exercise us, for we are on the other side of all doubt once we know Him in whom we have believed."
~Charlotte Mason
Right now, many of my thoughts are consumed with fear. God has asked me to follow my husband to a place that seems very scary (foreign) to me. I have never been so reluctant to follow my husband before. And this is not the first time he has asked me to move to a place that I didn't welcome.

Andy has felt a little helpless as he has watched me struggle. I know it must be hard for him. It's always hard to watch someone find peace with God, knowing that you can't do a thing but pray and wait. Sunday night he told me again, to let him know if he could help. Some time in the middle of the night I tapped him and asked if he was still awake. Not sure if he would remember the next morning, I told him I figured out what he could do.

Yesterday he took a sick day off of work at my request. I asked him to give me the majority of the day to catch up on all the things that I have neglected lately. And while I was gone, I requested for him to pray for me and write down all the verses he could find on fear.

It was a healing exercise for both of us. The thing is, God never promises us comfort in this world. He never says that a big library, fun kid programs, nice parks, or plentiful restaurants are symbols that our children will grow up well-rounded and educated. He never says that suburbia equals safety. I am realizing that the "American dream" has become an idol in my heart. Somewhere deep down in my mind, below the surface where our secrets lie, I have equated programs and places with happiness. I have put comfort and ease ahead of service and love.

What I rediscovered in our quest to tame my fear yesterday is that following God is scary. What I mean is, faith almost always requires boldness and action. I couldn't find a single man or woman mentioned in the Bible who wasn't asked to leave his or her comfort zone. I have been selfish and self-seeking. Because boldness + action=inconvenience and difficulty. Thank God I am married to a man who has a crazy, passionate, irrational love for Christ. It pushes me to a life of faith, as well.

We are all scared of something God has asked us to do. I can think of four or five mountains God has set before me over the course of my Christian life (the past 17 years) that literally put the fear of God in me. Here are a few of mine: being made fun of for my faith, having a budget so tight that purchasing a snack from the gas station would throw it off, having a child with a disability, extending forgiveness to someone that required deep sacrifice, parenting the children alone due to my husband's work schedule, losing a baby, dealing with family members with addiction problems. Living in a broken world is excruciating sometimes. If you are facing something that stretches your faith to the point of suffering, maybe these verses will encourage you, too.

Exodus 14:13
"Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today."
Job 6:21
"Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid."
Psalm 56:3-4
"When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"
Isaiah 12:2
"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." (*not comfort, not programs, not people, not health)
Mark 4:40
"He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I DO NOT GIVE TO YOU AS THE WORLD GIVES. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (*emphasis for myself)
Psalm 111:7
"The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy."
Hebrews 11
Isaiah 42:16
"And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known. I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, I do not forsake them."
"We die daily. Happy are those who daily come to life as well."
~George MacDonald

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