Are you ever just in awe of how God gets our attention? How He uses something such as a line in a movie, someone else’s experience, a post on social media, or encouragement from a friend at exactly the right moment to convict us, show us our sin, and bring us closer to Him. How even if we ignore the first nudge or the second, He never gives up. He is persistent to chase after us, His most precious creation.
Just the other day while mindlessly skimming through Instagram Stories, I stopped at a story that for once, challenged me. It was nothing eye catching; just an off-white background with some words that stuck with me. I don’t remember what it said word for word, and I really wish I did, but it was along the lines of, “the thing that you fear most is the thing that you are trusting God with the least.” As I read those words, I felt it. I felt the weight of it all; the weight of my unbelief that God is bigger than my fears; that He is in control. The weight of the doubt that allows my fears to make roots in my heart. It all felt like too much. It felt like too much heartache, too much sin, too much inward reflection, too much heart change that needed to happen; so I avoided it all, or so I thought.
A few days later, when I was doing my daily devotional, uncoincidentally the words fear and faith rose from the text, quickly catching my eye. Immediately I thought, “Okay, God, I see you. Something is to be learned here; something I can’t avoid any longer.” I reread the text just to be sure, but there it was, “Fear and faith cannot be roommates. They will not co-exist …What faith costs you in tenacity, fear up-charges in misery.” (Thank you, Beth Moore, for once again making those wheels in my head spin!) I must have reread those words a dozen times before it all clicked: my fears allow lies to sweep in and brush God’s life-giving, all-powerful, truths under the rug. When God’s truth is swept under the rug, fear is able to take the throne that belongs to faith. When fear is on the throne, my trust is not resting in my all-powerful, faithful God. Plain and simple fear gets in the way of faith every time. When I am not trusting God, I become fearful. When I am not trusting God, I have lack of faith.
In Luke 8:22-25, Luke writes:
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
Do you see that? The disciples were afraid. They were fearful that the storm would overtake them. Jesus was right there with them, yet they were still afraid. They, who did life with Jesus and witnessed Him performing miracles, were afraid. They doubted Him. They had little faith. Maybe their faith wasn’t firm enough for them to trust that Jesus would have their backs, but it was strong enough for them to realize that they needed Jesus because they weren’t going to be able to save themselves.
When I face my own fears, at the least I should be shouting, “Lord, help me, I’m drowning!”, “Lord, where are You?”, “Lord, when will the storm end?, or “Lord, is this part of Your plan?”
The truth is, I am not always pleading for Jesus, my Savior.
Instead, I am trying to save myself because what could possibly go wrong if I’m in control? The real answer is a lot. A lot could go wrong. Which is exactly where these fears come from – a knowledge that as much as I want to be in control, I cannot be in control of everything. As much as I try to do it on my own, I can’t, and that is when those fears start to grow; when I admit I am weak but do not admit God is strong and able and for me; when I am not truly trusting God in the areas that are outside of my control. I imagine that each time I let a fear take over, Jesus is looking at me shaking His head and smiling saying, “you silly girl, I am right here. I have not left you. Why do you doubt me? Where is your faith?” just as He did with the disciples.
Friends, I think the lesson to be learned here is that fear says we can’t but faith says God can! So the next time you catch yourself being caught in fear, ask yourself if you’re trusting God; ask yourself if your faith is greater than your fear.