Do you battle with fear? I did for a good portion of my life. Since I was abused as a child, by an angry father, I was afraid pretty much all of the time then. And, throughout my adult years, I also battled with fear, because I did not understand the sovereignty of God over my life, and I thought Satan still had power over me, and that God had not the power to do anything about it. I knew better in my mind, but not in my heart; not in my emotions or in my reactions to my circumstances. Maybe you identify.
The Lord Jesus led me to read John 14 (Select vv. NASB).
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
Fear is the opposite of faith; the opposite of trust. When we believe God’s Word, and what it teaches us, and when we believe God’s many promises to us, not just in our minds, but in our hearts and in our emotions, then fear will dissipate. But, we have to first know what the Word of God teaches us, and we need to understand it, not just intellectually, but within the depths of our souls. And, sometimes, it is a difficult path to get there because of the wrong messages we had fed into our minds, perhaps by abusive fathers.
Let me paint a picture for you of what this looks like. Let me take you back to my childhood. My father was angry all the time, mean, and a bully who took advantage of those weaker than him. He was always trying to prove that he was the strongest, the smartest, the most talented, etc. He had been abused, too, not that that excused away his behavior, for he knew better. So, he beat on us, mostly on our mother, and he yelled and screamed and he sexually abused some of us. He wielded enormous power over us, and we were all afraid of him. Basically, he was the epitome of Satan to me.
I believed in Jesus Christ as my Savior when I was around 7 years of age. I knew I was a sinner in need of the Savior. I poured out all my suffering to God in prayer. I wept over all my sin. And, I repented of my sin and I chose to follow the Lord with my life. Yet, that didn’t change my circumstances at home. But, I did turn to the Lord daily in my pain, and in my sadness, and I did confess my sins to him, if I sinned against the Lord, and I prayed for his help, and I received his comfort and encouragement on a daily basis.
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?”
But, the abuse still continued. I had not been rescued from the abuse. And, so, I got this image of God that he was able to comfort and encourage and help me in my suffering, but that he could not deliver me from it, and thus, in my emotions, I believed he was limited in power, but that Satan still had the power to wreak havoc in my life. And, I carried that subconscious belief into my adult life, where I faced even more abuse from various people. And, so I continued to respond with fear, and, metaphorically speaking, as though I was that child with arms crossed over her face, hoping to not get hit, but knowing that she would.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him… and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”
It was a long journey for me before I finally understood, not just in my mind, but in my emotions, that God is absolutely sovereign over every aspect of my life, and that he is all powerful, and that Satan is already defeated.
This did not mean that I no longer faced difficult situations or that I will not yet face them, but what it does mean is that I came to accept that life is going to have its difficulties, but that God is still on his throne. He allows sinful people to do horrible things, and he does not promise us that we will not suffer unjustly in this world. In fact, he says we will. So, trusting in his sovereignty means yielding to his will, and trusting him in my circumstances to give me the strength to endure, but also the strength to stand strong on the Word of Truth, and to use the armor of God to fight off Satan’s lies.
For, Satan will lie to us, and he will convince us that God is not all powerful, and that God is weak, but that Satan is all powerful, and that he can wield that power against us, and thus we have no recourse but to be afraid. But, we don’t have to fear! For, nothing can touch us but what God allows it. God is absolutely in control, and nothing surprises him. He is not caught off guard by what takes us by surprise. He knew what was coming. And, he already had a plan for what he was going to do in our lives and through our lives despite our circumstances, and because of what we are going through.
“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
These things come into our lives to draw us to God, to strengthen us in our faith, to cause us to trust in the Lord, and to lean on him, and to rest in him. They come so that we will learn to not rely on ourselves, but on God. And, they happen in our lives to mature us, to prune us, to purify us, and to make us holy; to make us Christ-like. They strengthen us, and they teach us perseverance, and they teach us love and compassion for others who are going through similar circumstances, so that we can encourage them with the encouragement we received from the Lord.
Daily we must take up the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us. But, these are not all defensive weapons. Some of them are offensive weapons, like the sword of the Spirit. So, instead of cowering in a corner out of fear with arms crossed in front of our faces, just trying to not get hit, we can put on that sword of the Spirit, and we can fight off Satan’s lies with the truth that our God will never leave us or forsake us, and that he has empowered us to live godly and holy lives, and that Satan is a defeated foe, and that he has no power over us. We can set our faces like flint and be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power, and not give way to fear ever again because we believe God’s Word, now in our hearts.
Fear Not, Little Flock / An Original Work
Based off Luke 12 / February 10, 2016
Fear not, little flock,
Your Lord’s always near.
Jesus will come and
Wipe every tear.
Trust in His mercy,
Rest in His love.
He’ll give you comfort
From heaven above.
Our precious Redeemer,
Jesus, our friend,
He will be with us,
True to the end.
He will not leave you,
Faithful He’ll be.
Believe His promises,
Rest on His knee.
Our God, and provider,
He knows our need.
He’ll not forsake you.
Follow His lead.
He’ll love and comfort you
To the end.
Know, on His Word,
You can always depend.
Friday, December 29, 2017, 5:58 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, that you deliver from fear and that you strengthen us to walk by faith. Amen!