Lately with all that has been going on in the news and in our communities I have been finding myself in fear. Not like the fear of what others think, or the kind of fear that comes from disappointing someone you love. I am speaking of fear for my future. This fear feels like it had such a grip on me the last few weeks. The In the Garden study could not have come at a better time.
This week I have felt the grip of fear at just the thought of even running an errand in my day. With all the turmoil we are watching unfold, I start to feel anxiety about simply walking out my front door. I have been thinking about things that could go horribly wrong. I say, “What if I make someone so mad on the road that they retaliate?” or, “What if someone on my flight decides that my flight would be the one to blow up?” or, “What if I am just in the wrong place at the wrong time?” I have watched as government officials have expressed grief over the loss of another officer who won’t go home to their family. I have felt the pain of watching innocent civilians lose their lives in a matter of seconds on my cell phone. I feel injustice for them and wonder what they did wrong. But I think, “Why are such innocent men and women in uniform paying with their lives?” Racial tensions are high and being in an interracial relationship I fear being mistreated in our day to day lives.
Our country is not the only place suffering. I have watched foreign countries be ravaged by terrorists who proudly boast in the death toll numbers that roll across the ticker at the bottom of my television screen. Every night I think I have held my face in my hands and said, “Father! Help us.” Aloud. I have shared with you before the deep pains of not being with child but I found myself wondering, “Lord, should we even want to bring a child in this world?” If things are like this now, I can’t imagine what is to come. Wanting a child won’t change, but I just can’t help but think that I feel so unsafe. Nothing looks like it is getting better.
But I was able to sit in my first In the Garden Bible study this past week and couldn’t help but think that this came at the perfect time. We have done this study before, this time last year to be exact. But this time the study has come at a different season in my life. I have a better understanding of walking with Christ. I am still and always will be a work in progress but I am learning. And this time in the study the Holy Spirit continues revealing sweet treasure in God’s Word that I am living on day to day.
I mean honestly, it wasn’t until the last few weeks that this fear has taken hold. But I don’t know, many of you may struggle with a different kind of fear? Fear of man, fear of failing, fear of not pleasing everyone. I often take the book of Psalms for granted. I use to only go to Psalms if I needed a plea to the Lord or a great praise to Him because I couldn’t find my own words. But I was reminded during my quiet time of Psalm 121. When we suffer from fear or any way of thinking that takes away from who God is for that matter, think on this:
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psa. 121)
I am so guilty of stealing His glory and feeding my sins. I am guilty even of being prideful in my way and thinking, “Okay, I have read this before….let me read a little faster so I can get to my next section and be done for the day.” But how grateful am I that He doesn’t leave me dead in my sinful thinking. How blessed am I that I get another opportunity to stop feeding not only my sin of fear, but of doubt, unbelief, and mistrust. And instead offer up a sacrifice of praise, thanks, and song to Him.
This week I saw that I am in God’s hands. The same hands that fashioned the universe hold me together. I am not going to allow fear to lead me, but I will fall before my King and go to where my help comes from. I am learning to fall before Him and intercede and make my supplications known to Him. I am learning that fear is a hindrance. It allows this human mind to wonder about a future that only God holds. Fear can drive you to doubt, unbelief, and lack of trust. Ultimately my fears have driven me to look at self. But when you are constantly meditating on the Word of God, I feel as though it leaves no room to focus on self.
There is so much anxiety, worry, stress, and pressure that is lifted when I just trust Him. I know it sounds cliché. So I will tell you this. When I started to think about this and really say, “Okay, Lord, I want to trust you,” I still had to follow it up with, “I am not sure if I am suppose to feel something, Lord. Could you please help my mind and heart match.” I always use to get real nervous because I never felt an immediate physical response to certain prayers. I am learning that it is okay if you don’t feel a new spark or tingle in the pit of your stomach when you have just asked for a change in you.
But I will tell you a change that I have felt–peace about my future. “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isa. 41:13 NIV). The God of all–think about that with me–the God of the sky, moon, stars, oceans, wind, animals, flowers (and everything else you can think of!) said that He would help me. I am grateful to have my sin of fear exposed so that I can now start the work along side Him in the garden of my heart. It showed me that I was often fearful of a tomorrow that I never knew I clung to so strongly. I want to weed out this doubt and watch the beautiful blooms that spring forth when I can give it all over to Him. And remember:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
All for His Glory