I’m afraid of a lot of things, spiders and bugs being at the very top of the list! I’m afraid that if I don’t study my bible enough, our Abba Father won’t love me and I won’t be pleasing to Him. I’m afraid that my beautiful daughter will be attacked walking home alone, in the dark. I’m afraid my son won’t find his way back to the Father and be lost forever. I’m afraid my husband won’t return from a trip to Africa and my Dad will no longer remember me because of dementia. I could go on writing this list, but I won’t. Dwelling on the list of things you are afraid of is not healthy!
When you are afraid, fear begins to paralyze you. Anxiety incapacitates you. Distress immobilizes you. We cannot walk forward if we are letting fear take root in our souls. 1John 4:18 says this; “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
This scripture made me do a double take, changed my thinking; it really did penetrate my soul and spirit, my joints and marrow, so sharp was this word from the Lord. “Fear has to do with punishment!” Fear whispers in your ear the very worst possible scenario. It shouts its bitterness and poison into your spirit until your mind plays over and over again its sulfurous synopsis. Fear tells you that your Father won’t love you – it tells you of an angry God, waiting to pour out the fire of judgement upon your head. Fear tells you that you cannot trust the Lord in all things, with those you love the most! Fear tells you that you cannot believe in His promises, His goodness, and His kindness. You cannot trust in His perfect love!
Several years ago the Lord spoke to me about letting fear overwhelm me. He showed me His incredible love, His glorious grace, and tender mercies. In 2014, I had a wonderful opportunity to travel to Israel and while I was there, the Lord told me to be baptized in the Sea of Galilee, the very place that Peter walked on water. “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him, “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Fear took hold of Peter’s heart when he saw the ferocity of the wind, when he saw what he was up against. He was afraid of what would happen, afraid of a disastrous outcome and so he began to sink.
How often, when we stop having faith and trusting the Lord, focusing on the problem and not our Jesus, do we begin to sink? Deeper and deeper into the muck and the mire of our own anxious thoughts. Jesus is right there, hand outstretched, ready to pull you back into the boat again. I love how this scripture says, ‘immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him!’ Immediately! Instantly! Urgently and unhesitatingly!
If we take our eyes off the storm and fully trust the Lord there will be no fear of punishment. If we concentrate on His goodness, we will not be afraid of the outcome but know He will always work all things together for good. If we rely on His perfect love, we will know that we can leave our loved ones in His hands. No matter what we are walking through, we need never be afraid as He is walking beside us, showing us the way, ready to catch us if we begin to sink. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.
He will give you strength, He will give you hope and encouragement, He will give you the ability to move beyond your paralysis and walk forward. He will bring you to a place where there is no fear of punishment, no fear of the outcome, just faith and trust in His perfect love, in His plan for your life!
Now what am I going to do about those beastly bugs that I’m still afraid of!