Photo Credit: Heartlight
Where does fear come from? That fear that tears at our insides and causes our thoughts to scatter and light on the dreaded “what if’s”. That fear that draws us away from the promise of God’s constant care to the wrong thinking that we are left alone…to fend for ourselves and those we love.
It doesn’t come from God. I’ve written several times on one of my favorite and most fear-busting Bible verses, 2 Timothy 1:7. The Apostle Paul reassures us that God isn’t the One who causes us to fear. On the contrary, He actually gives us “power, love, and self-control/sound thinking”.
When we are tempted to fear, the struggle is against three “enemies of the soul” – the world, the evil one (Satan), and/or our own flesh (humanness).
We are presently hemmed in by a pandemic. COVID-19 has many of us on a sort of house arrest. It would be so easy to give into fear. Fear of the disease…fear of one another…fear of our own death or giving the virus to someone else.
Listen to what a pastor friend of mine says about how our core values as Christ-followers can be shaken as we are torn between living “safe” and living obedient to God.
“It is NOT NORMAL to view other humans (or ourselves) as potential carriers of death who must be avoided. To live and maneuver as if there was something so intrinsically deadly about people that we must constantly protect ourselves? This isn’t how human interactions and relationships are supposed to be! Make no mistake, this covid-19 stuff is causing relational trauma and teaching us things we will have to un-learn.
We are going to need time to readjust our thinking and prepare our hearts to be with people again. To allow ourselves to be (at least to a degree) unguarded and open. To look people in the eyes and communicate welcome and warmth, to mirror one another’s body language. To allow ourselves to be soothed by relationship, not threatened by it. To remember that God plans to use people in our lives for good.
We are not designed to adjust to a “new normal” that doesn’t allow for human connection. True, connection might look different for awhile. But we aren’t just biological cells prone to viruses; we are humans – image bearers – who are meant for relationship. Let’s not forget this!” – Jared Corrie Burwell, Facebook
Photo Credit: Daily Verses
A couple of days ago, I finally got some needed dental work postponed for two months because of the social distancing. It was a chipped molar requiring a crown.
I am afraid of dental work. Afraid the pain will rip through the anesthetic. Afraid I can’t endure a long procedure. Afraid I could contract a deadly virus. You name it, I could fear it related to dentists.
Does that exhibit “power, love, or sound thinking?” Well, no. God knows this struggle and He keeps his promises. I am the frail one; not Him.
So I prayed…
During that longish time in the chair, I was supposed to be calmed by the repeat video on the screen in front of me. Beach, waves, blue sky. If fear is your foe, that scene can make you want to scream after awhile. Then the playlist…it was actually relaxing. Standard rock music of the 70s and 80s. Oddly, early in the “drilling” part of that experience, a familiar refrain, not from that era, penetrated my focused-elsewhere hearing.
“Your presence, Lord.” From a song I had heard often since it debuted in 2014.
Worship with me today, as I worshiped that day in the dentist chair:
There’s nothing worth more that will ever come close
Nothing can compare, You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free and my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
I’ve tasted and seen, of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free, and my shame is undone
By Your presence, Lord
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness*
God is so kind to His children.
Whatever is causing us to fear at the moment – be it a dentist chair, an alarming symptom for which we await a doctor’s appointment, a complicated marriage, our sense of inadequacy with our children, or the visitation of COVID-19 itself on us or someone we love.
The world is full of stuff to fear, but God is with His. His presence ever with us. He will take us through whatever comes. He will rescue us.
I wish dentists would tell you, “We’re about halfway through…we have about 10 minutes and then you’ll be done.” “Almost over.” That didn’t happen at this visit. Just about the time I was about to ask for “a moment”…to stretch my back, calm my rising panic, and let my mouth relax from all the stretching…one more refrain broke through the 70s-80s songs.
And then, it was over. Oh, the dental visit lasted a bit longer, but I was calm again.
Some who read this may think I’m such a baby. In light of the huge threat in our world from this pandemic.
Maybe I am a baby…but, thank God, I’m His baby. These baby steps through small pains, small threats, small fears prepare me/us for the larger ones. Remembering that He is with us and He will rescue us… one way or another. Hallelujah!
He will never be shaken.
The righteous one will be remembered forever.
He will not fear bad news;
his heart is confident, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is assured; he will not fear.
In the end he will look in triumph on his foes. – Psalm 112:6-8
Photo Credit: Roy T. Bennett, Twitter
Do you struggle with fear? How are you handling it? [Comment below.] Believe me, I’m aware of the struggle. Praise God, He is present with us.