May I share something personal with you about putting faith over fear? Fear is always nipping at my heels, trying to get a hold on me. Fear tends to come for me in the middle of the night or early in the morning when I first wake up. It prefers to catch me off guard like a sucker punch. Sometimes, I bring fear on myself by letting my what-if’s travel too far down the rabbit hole. Either way, I have found fear can trigger anxiety, which can produce some very convincing physical symptoms. What I fear most in life is losing someone I love; I dread the pain and loss.
Early in the pandemic, Psalm 91 became my mantra: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust” (v.1-2). This Psalm talks me off the ledge with its comforting image of God’s protection: “no harm will befall you; no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you” (v 10-11). My comfort does not come from believing nothing bad will happen, because I know that some of what I fear will come to pass.
In my previous post on faith over fear, I mentioned Satan tempting Jesus to throw himself down from the temple to prove he trusted God would send the angels to rescue him. Interestingly, Satan was quoting this verse from Psalm 91. Satan often tempts our faith by trying to get us to doubt God. Satan doesn’t deny that God CAN help you, his question is WILL God help you? There was a period in my life where I struggled with trusting God because I didn’t understand why the Lord allowed some bad things that the Lord could have prevented. Was my faith weak? Was I being punished? No, as Christ’s followers, we must learn to process our suffering without coming to the conclusion God let us down.
The life of Jesus is our example: “it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer” (Isaiah 53:10). Jesus’ reaction in the garden before the crucifixion shows us his feelings--he dreaded what he was about to go through-- but he was willing to surrender to God’s will and trust God’s plan. God allowed this to happen for a greater good.
I don’t believe God chastises us for our fears, but rather God calls us to have courage by processing life in light of eternity and the Lord’s promise to be with us. To “dwell in the shelter of the Most High” is to live in God’s word and to rest in God’s presence, no matter what is going on. I have no doubt God has sent angels on my behalf for things I don’t even know about. God has also allowed me to experience some things and, as much as I didn’t want those things to happen, I felt the Lord’s closeness and peace in a way I never had before. To have faith over fear is to believe God even when it appears to us that evil has won. I love how the light is shining through in this picture, a reminder to me that God is always here. Have you signed up for The Anchored Newsletter? www.anchoredtochrist.org. Let’s grow our faith in 2022.