As part of my quiet time today, I went back and read some entries from an old journal of mine. April 11, 2005--just a year after the accident. I was writing about fears, specifically my own and what led me to fear. It was interesting to see what fears I held then compared to what I feel two years later. It was neat tracing God's hand in dealing with the fears that were a part of me then. But, here's the frustration...there were fears then that I still feel from time-to-time now.
Is there anyone that doesn't fear something? I remember a nightly ritual I held as a child. Because of my fear of what might be under my bed, I would turn off the light by the door, get a running start and dive towards my bed. My thinking was, "As long as I make it to the bed, I'll be safe. Whatever is under there can't grab me." I know, it's silly now as I look back. But you are laughing your head off because you had the same crazy thoughts. Thankfully, I crawl into my bed these days. Frankly, I don't know if my 40+ year old body could make the leap. But wouldn't it be embarrassing if I still held those same fears? How do you think Lisa would feel if I said, "Move over honey. I'm turning off the light and I don't want to hurt you when I hit the bed." I'd have a lot of explaining to do as a "relatively" mature adult.
Maybe I've got some explaining to do to God. It seems like my fears come from two sources. One of them is my poor understanding of who I am in Christ Jesus. I want to perform better and earn His love more--two things I know I can't do. And, because I can't do them, I catch myself in some pretty frustrated scenarios where I've fallen short yet again.
The second source is discouragement. The very definition of the word is "to deprive of courage, hope or confidence." Our enemy, Satan, is a pro at this. He works really hard to discourage me about my parenting skill, my job as a pastor, my role as a husband, my "performance" as a Christ follower and on and on. With each blow, he works to remove my courage, to take away whatever hope I have. The next thing you know, I'm diving into the bed again, hoping to find the cover I need for protection and safety. What does God's word say about this? Plenty. Here's one key passage I'd share with you today.
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 1 John 4:18 NLT
Perfect love drives out fear. Sounds good. Anyone know where to get "perfect love?" Anyone needing a dose of some perfect love right now?
Christ is the source of this kind of love. The answer to my fear and discouragement is His love. The more completely I am drawn into His presence--the more intimate I become with Him and His amazing heart for me--the more I will see (you, too) the fears begin to melt away. All of them. To be sure, it is a slow process that will be battled every day by Satan. But rest assured that Christ's perfect love will win the day.