When you are Fearful

Originally published Sunday, 06 December 2015.

forest path

"Suddenly she understood. She was beholding a wondrous and glorious truth; a great multitude whom no man could number brought like herself by the King to the Kingdom of Love and to the High Places so that they could now pour out their lives in gladdest abandonment, leaping down with him to sorrowful places below, to share with others the life which they had received." from Hinds Feet High Places by Hannah Hunard.  (the book I am reading right now).

I don't know if you've ever read this book.  It's about a character called Much Afraid, that is given a new "heart" and is asked to do something really hard.  She is crippled and The Great Shepherd (Jesus) asks her to follow Him to the High Place.  This is super hard for her and we often face the same hard thing everyday.  What in the world could this be?

Fears vs. Surrender.

When God asks us to do what looks like a hard thing to us, what's the first emotion that comes to your mind?  Is it control?  Or freedom?  Is it total surrender?

Nope, for me it's fear.

When we react with fears we are called normal.  But the other day, I just sensed that the Lord wanted me to press into what was at the root of some fearing emotions.  Once the Holy Spirit pulled back a couple of layers, there was something that I wasn't exercising.

My trust.

I immediately asked the Lord for more more faith and assurance to obey.  What does this have to do with Much Afraid's story?  Her initial emotion was fear when the Great Shepherd asked her to follow Him.  He even promised help to get her there.

Ever think about subtle fear can be in your life?  Ever try to moving forward on a God-sized project on your own strength and confidence?  Do you think Mary, the mother of Jesus, was fearful when she received the grand angelic conception announcement?  

I've been a mom twice and each time there was a little fear of the unknown.

Trust is an anchor that connects you with God's character.  My hard thing was a personal fear, and it was time to face off with it!  Fear is always a liar.  A month before I left for Africa, I typed out 13 chapters, to complete my first book.  There was a day I thought I would never finish it. I was focused, driven, and determined to get out as much of my weight loss story as I possibly could.  

I have a wonderful confidence in the accomplishment of the book itself.  The writing of it has brought healing to my life.  Now I get to trust the process. Just like Much Afraid,  and as she takes it one step at a time, I am also keeping pace with God's timing.  

To pray in faith includes perfect God's timing.  

I sometimes need a reminder.  Much Afraid realizes that she is not alone and has some helpers, that come alongside as she discovers her own hinds feet.  She follows the Great Shepherd from her heart of love and obedience.  There is no fear that can stand up to Perfect Love.  

Why does this encourage us?  To know that we are God's sons and daughters, that He is with us, and I choose to trust in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and not my own faltering fears, well, that means everything in my book.  I am not a slave to fear.

But now, this is what the LORD says-- "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." ~ Isaiah 43:1

God shows us the strength of His character in times of fear because He has already seen the valleys that we will go through. And He knows what we need to get THROUGH those vallys to the High Place. In fact, He has already been into our tomorrows to anticipate our needs.  We all need encouragement from time to time, so be encouraged by this one fact:  God loves you, you are not alone, you don't have to do today by yourself, just look up and see God loving down upon you. 

Through the valleys we meet Him to rise above our circumstances, look past our fears, and trust Him for the results, which are way bigger than we can ever produce.  

What hard thing are you looking at today?