What are you afraid of?
At my house our list includes:
Mice, snakes, thunderstorms, dogs, being late to practice, going to the dentist, getting a demerit, to name a few.
And when we take a look at these fears, we know they’re all silly, inconsequential, and yet…they’re rooted in something—some memory or impression that shoots off a warning in our brains.
For all of you puppy lovers out there, you cannot believe I even said someone could be afraid of dogs. The story behind the story? My daughter and I are both fiercely allergic to anything with fur. Ever since my kids can remember when a dog comes near Mallory or Mom, we back away. When a dog licks or rubs against Mallory or Mom we step back, Dad steps in front of us like Sir Lancelot to protect us. The clothes get washed. The hands get scrubbed. It’s like we go into total decontamination mode. So not surprisingly, my kids have it planted in their heads when you see a dog, you shy away.
But we have more serious fears, don’t we?
Fear of rejection, of not measuring up, of making the wrong decision, of losing someone we love, of going down the wrong path again, of not being able to pay our bills, of what the doctor will say, of the unknown.
But no matter what our fears are. God says, “Nothing of me is in fear. Nothing.”
God says, “I am perfect love,” and perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18
Knowing this means we don’t have to be afraid.
So…what are you afraid of? Where is the world or the competition or the enemy trying to sneak in, weaken you, make you doubt?
Over 70 times in the Bible it says, “Fear Not.” “Be not afraid.” It’s not a suggestion, but a command. It’s often followed with, “because I am with you” “because I will fight for you,” or “because you are mine.”
And yet, we’re still afraid. Of something. Of lots of things. Of unknown things.
I don’t want to be afraid.
I want to be fearless.
As a lover of words, I think maybe getting out of fear comes from understanding the word “fear”. There are actually two words for fear that frequently appear in the Bible.
When scripture speaks of “do not be afraid” it means phobeo, meaning no need to run, no need to hide.
Are we 100% in awe of God. Yare of who God is. Of how God loves us. Of the power of what Jesus did on that first Good Friday, what He did on the cross? Are we stunned by God and all He does, or are we trying to be the ones to impress others, running our hearts out on the performance treadmill? Striving to be good? To be good enough? A good enough friend, student, worker, parent, family member, spouse? A good person, or a good Christian?
Because we don’t’ have to perform. We have this gorgeous gift of unconditional love from the Savior of the World. Jesus loves you and me no matter where we’ve been, no matter how we ended up here, no matter what we’re struggling with today. Every day it blows me away that Jesus offers this amazing grace to a wretch like me (and like you, wretch or not). But He does. And because He offers it freely, we no longer have to strive. We have nothing to fear. His perfect love casts out all fear.
We are free to live a life of awe and wonder--yare'—and when we truly live in amazement of that, keep our eyes fixed on His love and glory, we never need to be concerned with phobos again.
I don’t have this virtue.
I’m horrible at waiting. I can’t wait until the chocolate chip cookies come out of the oven, so I eat spoonfuls of dough. I can’t wait until the Snow Patrol concert, so I keep pulling out my tickets. I can’t wait until Good Friday to post this blog, so I’m posting on Thursday. If I’ve emailed you in the past day, you can be sure I’m checking my inbox for your reply. I can’t even wait until tomorrow morning’s coffee – dark roast with a shot of mocha – mmm.
2014 years ago on this day the disciples also failed in the patience department. All they could see and feel was the humility and the devastation of their Lord being painfully and shamefully executed. They felt angry and lonely and hopeless. They locked themselves in a dark room afraid to go out, fearful of what would happen next.
Just around the corner was everything and more than they could have ever imagined. But the disciples couldn’t see it through all the darkness.
In just a couple of days they would see their Lord in all His glory. They would learn Jesus did not desert them, that He would never desert them or me or you. Instead, Jesus had forgiven the disciples, and all of us, our sins. He wasn’t leaving the disciples or us, but going ahead to make a place for us in heaven. But on Good Friday, the first Good Friday, that was incomprehensible.
The disciples needed faith, to remember His promises, and the patience to let them unfurl. So do I.
I’m plenty impatient about the little things. But, when I really want change in my life, when I’m over the top flustered or disgruntled or itching for things to be different, or am consumed with anticipation and excitement … this is when I truly need to be patient – to hang in there. Because just like Jesus had a glorious surprise for the disciples, there’s something just around the corner waiting for me, something amazing beyond my wildest dreams. And for you, there is something over the next hill that will blow you away. We just need to be patient.
For now we see only a reflection, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13: 12 NIV
What are you waiting for today?