It sneaks up on you.
Before you know it, it has iron clad fists around your heart.
It's hard to think practical every-day-common-ordinary thoughts, let alone make life changing decisions.
Your mind feels a bit like Hurricane Barry has hit the coast.
It may start in the brain (which you wish you could shut off), but it quickly turns physical:
- heart palpitations
- sweaty palms
- sleepless nights
- inability to focus
- difficulty breathing
But, then, there are spiritual side-effects, as well, that leave you totally confused and left wondering if Jesus is sleeping somewhere in the back of your boat.
You just can't locate the ability to find rest for your soul.
You know Jesus has promised it, but it's like He's hidden it from you. On top of that, we have to mention the guilt that comes, because if people really knew what was happening inside your soul, they'd brand you "one of those." You know, the "oh-you-of-little-faith Christian..."
Fear never makes sense. It hits at random, and, always, inappropriate times.
It answers to several names, you take your pick:
No matter what you call it - it's the same beast.
A giant-of-varied-size who has crossed the battle line and is now invading your personal space.
He taunts, mocks, and tries to call you out.
Sometimes you feel particularly spunky, and you march out with your sling and stones, but the rocks fall short. The giant doesn't die. He just walks off laughing, and once again, you feel defeat.
His specialty is torment.
I get it.
I've been there.
I still hear his laughter - an echoing ghost from my past.
However, the problem is greater.
He still steps over my personal red line from time to time.
Not dealt with, this giant starts bringing his brother to the battlefield: Depression.
Put the two of them together, and you're not only outnumbered, you're pretty sure you'll never see daylight again.
Jesus always contrasted anxiety and fear with faith.
I've known that, but something deeper and more practical (& maybe more powerful) is rising out of Scripture as a new weapon of choice. A bigger stone to put in my sling of faith: Fighting fear with fear.
This verse caused me pause this week:
The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied...unshaken (Proverbs 19:23)
Promised contentment and peace for the soul.
It's in four little words.
One way to fight fear is with fear.
(Please note, I said one way. Not the way, or the only way...)
It takes the right kind of fear, however.
It takes the right kind of fear, however.
Fear of God.
Meaning...a great respect; deep reverence; wonderment...here's a better word - AWESTRUCK!
Satan is sneaky.
If he can't get us to give in to blatant denial of God, he'll get us to take God for granted.
Reduce His majesty.
Put Him on a more human level.
I've heard myself say it before, at the risk of being repetitive, I'll say it again:
When we lose our wonder, we lose our worship.
I looked again at the story where Jesus calmed the storm after the disciples finally woke him in the back of their boat. Here was their response:
And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:27)
The disciples marveled over Jesus. That's another way to say they were AWESTRUCK.
Jesus left them breathless with wonderment.
Oh, sometimes, I'm caught off guard by him. Sometimes, I'm thoroughly intrigued by his manifestations of grace toward me. But, it's not often I'm left breathless....and I wonder why not? After all, the God who paints the skies, orchestrates my life.
The God of Creation cares about every detail of my world. I'm falling into that trap that Satan has set...and I desperately need to fight fear with fear. Otherwise, boldness, confidence, decision-making, even life-fun-events will allude me. I will be the one to miss out. I will be the one with regret. I know this, because I often do. I often am.
This truth has formed in my heart and mind this week:
The greater my AWE of God, the less my fears have potential to control me.
It's time for me...perhaps you?...to reclaim, recapture, relearn the grandeur and wonder that is my God. It's time to recover, reform, yes, redeem my ability to be AWESTRUCK, to live with childlike-wonder.
Really, one of the surest ways to conquer one's fear is to find a greater fear.
And, God is greater than any of our fears!