Stronger than fear

Life brings change. Elections bring change. Age brings change. Change brings excitement and fear. Mostly fear. So do spiders, anacondas, car wrecks, rope bridges, people in ski masks with guns, interviews without job offers, and Alzheimers after arthritis. I’m afraid of making mistakes, especially ones that are embarrassing or with long-term impacts. I’m afraid of being wrong and of challenging people and being disproved. I could go on…but you have your own list.

So what is my faith based on? Oooh, now that’s a question! Is there hope in the Gospel when I share my story? It does mean “good news” after all! Do I want just want to see Christian numbers rise? Or do I feel inferior when I cannot prove my point by defeating an alternative mindset?

Is this mindset the correct one? So much of life changes – is this sturdy enough to weather them? Is faith in God going to carry me through ups and downs, and will it work for others who try it also? I do not agree with the idea that everyone has their own truth, but I do see the point that something that works for a young, educated American does not always translate to the lives of someone around the world…or even down the block! Does my faith delve deeper than an outer shell of behaviors and habits? Does it reach my core?

Paul told Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1). What does it look like to be controlled by love rather than fear? Well, it looks different than the average person who denies there is a problem or shrinks away from it to find another way.

Love is hard for me to understand. But then again, 1 John 4 says,

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him….16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us” (emphasis mine). 

I need to get a better view of God…love is strong enough to wipe out fear. Not shaking knees kind of fear, but the gnawing thought that it will all go wrong in the end. Since we know our end, and God is guiding our journey, what do we seriously have to be afraid of?

God, I need love. I have a mile-long list of fears that push me around. I’m tired of it! Please help me to see You – love – and how Your love changed my heart, and how I can pass the gift on to others. To Your glory, Amen.

 

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