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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Do Not Be Afraid

I read somewhere that God tells us not to be afraid 365 times throughout the bible... coincidence that it should be our daily reminder?  Fear is something I get so frustrated with!  I remember one day being greatly humbled reading 1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.  For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."

Not perfected in love...

Man, that sucks!  I want so much to be perfected in His love.  When I pray for humanity, for the babies of the world, for the mamas who are alone, for the sinners who keep themselves from being forgiven because they don't believe they deserve it... when I pray for our world, I feel nothing but love.  But how small is that love, no matter how big it feels in my heart, if I keep letting fear creep into my life?

Fear of Ethan getting stung by one of the bees from the hives out by our clover fields.  Fear of driving down the two-lane highway everyday at that one moment when someone isn't paying attention.  Fear of losing one of the children.  Fear of Isabel's suffering.  Fear of being the cause of any of their life traumatic experiences.  Fear.  Fear.  Fear.

How is His love supposed to shine through me if I don't allow Him to COMPLETELY fill me?  And if He completely fills me, there should be no presence of fear!

Yet in some aspects of my life, I do feel fearless.  I am fearless in the face of other people's opinions (my sister said it best when she said "what other people think of you is NONE of your business!").  I am fearless in being WHO I am.  I am fearless in loving those around me... their rejection does not scare me (it just makes me more determined to love them beyond their prickles... cuz those are usually the people who need the MOST love!).  Fearless in my honesty, even when it makes me look bad.

So how can I have such fear in some aspects of my life yet fearless in others?

1 John 4:12 assures us that "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us."  So if God is in us, why should we fear one another?

Hmmm, some food for thought, n'est-ce pas?

As a young child, I slept on my father's bedroom floor for two years straight because I was convinced monsters would come to get me.  Even when Duane and I were married, I told him "You have to sleep closest to the door that way the monsters won't get me first!"  Ah yes, truly loving, I know.

But as I have had more children, I have been relieved to discover that the things I once feared have dissipated in the face of longing to be present to my children in their fears.  Ironically, my fears have shifted from self-preservation to preserving their precious lives at all cost.  Perhaps it will not be long before that apprehension shifts from preserving their life to simply giving thanks for each moment and trusting that God has their timing spaced perfectly according to His good and pleasing will.

Ethan has been struggling with fear of the dark and other things that are all too familiar to my childhood fears.  Duane has been greatly blessed by the fact that he never recalls feeling afraid of anything so he looks at me proclaiming "you'll have to explain this to me cuz I just don't get it!"

We've tried to help Ethan address his fears by reminding Him that God is always with Him, even though he can't see Him.  He's like love, or the wind... you can't put your finger on it, but you can just FEEL that it's there.  Eventually, we'll be able to teach him the ironic conundrum of those who do not believe BECAUSE they have not seen Him in their lives... the conundrum being that as long as one required PROOF, faith cannot be a component.  But when you believe in FAITH, suddenly His evidence and "proof" is all over the place!  Isn't that just how He works?

Veggie Tales has a great DVD with a song called "God is bigger than the Boogie Man" and Ethan has been especially appreciative of this song.

Well, our recent visit to the optometrist revealed that Ethan will be needing glasses.  I had to bring him back for special drops in his eyes that would dilate his pupils for a more accurate prescription.  I explained this process to Ethan so he knew what to anticipate.  But he was a little bit afraid.  Yesterday was that appointment.  The woman checked his eyes, put the drops in, waited and then we had to test his eyes again with a special scanning machine.  Ethan was obedient and not at all apprehensive.  The woman looked at him and said "Boy, are you ever a brave little guy!"  To which Ethan replied "that's because God lives inside of me" as he rested his chin on the device for further testing.

The woman stopped, looked at him with her jaw open, then she looked at me as tears welled up in her eyes, then looked back at Ethan and said "You're absolutely right... God lives inside of me, too."

Ethan experienced for himself that leading up to scary moments can be fearful but the truth of the matter is, when it comes right down to facing it, a fearlessness sets in and somehow we KNOW we are in the presence of our Father and the fulfilment of His promise that He would never leave our side.

So may this find you lifting up your own fears to a Father who longs to take them from you.  May your burdens be lightened and your joy abundant.  And may you rediscover again and again the glorious freedom of FAITH.  In this moment, I cast all my fears aside, surrender them to God and ask Him to fill my heart with His love... and I pour it forth right now through my fingers, through these words and into your minds and into your hearts where you can FEEL that which cannot be seen.  For God lives in me, and He lives in you.

Isn't it beautiful to know you and I shall always be united by that?  God bless you, dear ones...

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