Fear Stinks

Philippians 4:6-7  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.

I can’t stand being afraid.  I really, really can’t.  That means it’s beyond me why people like horror films or Cirque du Soliel (recently resulting in the death of one of their team in the middle of a live show), or dare devil tricks or any such thing. Not me!  And I’m ESPECIALLY not going to pay someone to freak me out.  

And then it comes to fear that happens as the result of real danger-  physical, emotional, relational, or whatever other “al”s there are out there.   Now that’s the worst!   Fear stinks.  (I would say sucks but I can hear my daughter correcting me.   She learned the lesson well.)   

Here’s the thing.  In scripture, how many times have you read “do not fear”.   Yup.  Tons and tons.  Why?  Because we DO fear.  That’s why.   God doesn’t repeat Himself over and over again about something unless He knows that it’s a big deal and that we need to be reassured over and over again.    The interesting thing, however, is that He also often says to not fear when it’s HIM showing up, not satan.   We can fear God as well as evil.  We are certainly capable of both.  Why?  It’s about power and control. 

Bottom line is, the only things we fear are the things we can’t control.   Fear and control are forever linked.   So when we are afraid, it’s good to remind ourselves that if we have turned out lives over to Christ, then we are to relinquish control and turn to Him in the midst of our fear and release the circumstance to Him.   (Do I trust you, Lord?)   

And in the paradox of the Lord, to relinquish control is to be in less danger and to gain freedom!  Freedom comes from relinquishing our rights and trusting Him to take care of us- and trusting Him with whatever the outcome might be.  Now sometimes that means we MUST take appropriate action in order to ensure peace.   It doesn’t mean we just forget all responsibility.  We may very well still be responsible to walk it out to whatever degree we are to do so.    But what it means is that we trust Him with the outcome and we trust the fact that He will love us.

Utter fail on this one today for me.    I’m in a foreign country.   We are staying at a private apartment in a private building with a keypad entry to the building.  My husband went on to the apartment ahead of me while I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things.  It never dawned on either of us that I didn’t have my phone and I didn’t know the code to get into the building.  By the time I arrived, the light bulb went on.   Oh my!  And he was up on the 3rd floor, possibly asleep because he’s exhausted from travel, and I had no way of getting in contact with him or getting into the building.  In a foreign country.  Alone.  With groceries.  Yup.   Just call me panic.  Who’s the maniacal women on the street yelling at an obviously silent building?   Who’s banging on the doors of a building where no one could possibly hear but her fellow strangers on the street?  Attractive picture, I know.    Of course my mind went immediately to problem solving-  worst case scenario, find a hotel room for the night.   But he would panic, I know.   I didn’t want that.   What about the woman from whom I had just purchased some flower?  Yes!   She and her husband are just closing shop.   They go in, search for numbers, let me use their phone to call my husband’s cellphone long distance, they took me in.  They were not thrilled but they were being kind.  They were ready to go home, not help a bizarre foreigner.   Nothing.  Can’t reach him.  Can’t reach the owner.  Nothing.   Then who shows up?  My husband.  No, he wasn’t asleep.  Yes, it finally dawned on him, when I had been gone way too long, that I didn’t have the code to enter the building.   He was searching the street and the florist found him!  

So, the Lord took care of me.  And I have to say, in an unusual turn of events, I am just now realizing how I totally forgot to stop and pray.   This is not like me.  But the fear was palpable and i was in no real danger at any time.  But I had projected the worst and was hoping for the best-  it’s the way I roll.   

But the primary thing I didn’t do, which is normally the way I roll, is stop and pray, immediately, and give the whole thing to the Lord to use to His glory.  But in my failure, He had gone ahead, kept my sweet husband (who felt awfully awful) awake and tapped him on the shoulder to come out and look for me.   God, once again, took care of me regardless of the fact that I completely forgot Him and allowed my own fear to be my most looming thought.   I am one grateful follower tonight.

Takeaway:  Our very first response when we are afraid is to decide to trust God, no matter the outcome.  It’s in that surrender that we find our freedom.   Praise Jesus.

Prayer:  Lord, please help me to relinquish all control in my life to you . Please forgive me for my failings to turn to you first at all times.     Please bring me peace in the midst of all situtaions that would cause me fear.    And deliver me from evil.    Thank you, Jesus.   Please grow my faith.

 

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