Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fear, Grace, and Mercy


Regardless of the situation, God has grace and mercy for our every need. He is a presence. He is with us always. He knows our needs and understands our fears. He is our safe haven—a strong shelter in the times of storm. He is my hiding place and my redeemer. All in all, God is everything.

When He leads us in a certain direction, there is a reason and a plan. He doesn’t lead us out into the deep waters so that we will drown, but to show us how to swim. The only way to grow and prosper in our journey is by faith in Him. We don’t always understand the steps in the journey, but they all lead us to the place He purposed for us. They all give us an opportunity to learn, grow, and a glimpse of His unyielding love. Serving God is not always easy, but the rewards outweigh the hardships, every single time.

Last Thursday, after work, we headed to Nashville for my school visit Friday morning. There is always an unexplainable fear of traveling for me. It takes all of my strength, a few tears, and prayers to make me go. I don’t understand my fear, but it is always present and strong. It clutches at my reserve of strength and reminds me how weak I truly am.

I wanted to cancel. I wished I had never agreed to go. Fear bubbled inside of me and I wondered what else I will have to endure and overcome. In these moments, I feel all of this is too big for me. I feel like I have waded out in waters too deep. I feel like I am drowning. I hate the frantic and despairing feeling fear creates. When it feels as if it will completely destroy me, my God arrives right on time.

When I lifted my eyes toward Heaven and prayed, God replaced my fear with peace. He took away my bad feelings and replaced them with happy ones. He reassured me I was safe in His arms. He dried my tears and calmed me. Even if death had come to me, there would be no fear. And I thought how wonderful it is to serve a God so loving that He takes the time to reassure me of my fears. He takes the time to hold me when I’m afraid and comfort me when I’m sad. He is a great protector.

Not only did He bless me with a wonderful school visit, but He taught me a few things along the way.

When we went to the zoo afterwards, I wasn’t thrilled about seeing the snakes. I’m scared of those critters and to even be in the same room with them, caged or not, was terrifying. But then I thought about it, am I always going to allow fear to dictate my life? So I talked to myself, in a happy, positive voice. I walked through the area, looking straight ahead of course, without allowing the fear to paralyze me. I knew nothing could happen beyond God’s control. And I watched my boys enjoy their exploration of new things. I didn’t want to pass my fears onto them or hold them back. Sometimes we have to pick and choose our battles. While I realize I will NEVER like snakes or enjoy looking at them, I did enjoy the beautiful butterflies.

Then, it was playtime. The jungle gym offered a variety of fun things to do. Since it was a weekend of facing fears, I decided to play, too. There was a huge net for climbing. It was hard to stand on, so I held onto the net and carefully placed my feet each time—so I wouldn’t fall. It wasn’t really fun because I held on tight, not wanting to fall. When I reached the end I was tired and not really enthused by it at all. Then, I watched the kids. They went right through the middle, without holding on, as fast as they could. They laughed and bounced on the roped when they fell. Without thinking about it too much, I joined them. I went right through the middle, running as fast as I could and when I fell I got right back up. This time I was laughing. I had stopped being afraid to fall and started enjoying the moment.

Sometimes I think God wants us to let go of the net and take off running (or just jump), not afraid to fall. He wants us to believe He will catch us, just like the safety net. He wants us to follow our dreams and not allow fear to control their depths. He wants us to put our trust in Him, to realize and know He already has it under control. He wants us to enjoy the journey and be prosperous.

God constantly reminds me there is no discharge in this war. There is no place to quit. No room for disobedience and no excuse to succumb to fear. It’s a great blessing just to know, when it all gets to be too much for me, my God will lift me above it all. I am weak, but He is strong.

I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneths me. Philippians 4:13.  

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