“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day – our standing in the world is identical Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love.
(I John 4:17-18 -The Message)
I had an 'aha!' moment earlier this week. All this time when I thought I was walking in faith, I was actually operating out of fear. I know! I was shocked too!! I would have never thought so, but in many areas I’ve been a very fearful person. I suppose I have been all my life. I mean I was literally afraid of everything. You name it, I feared it. Fear of God, fear of man, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, fear of acceptance, fear of people, fear of being alone, fear of the bad, fear of the good… and on and on it went. My life resembled the old Snickers commercial – any way you sliced it, it came up fear.
Naturally, I was taken aback by this revelation.. I mean imagine my surprise as I sat in church minding my own business and God started talking to me about fear. The preacher was talking about Psalm 62:11-12, “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you O God are strong, and that you, O Lord are loving…” He was talking about how God’s power makes us want to run from Him, but His love is meant to draw us so that His power can bind us up and heal us. I’m trying to take it all in and here is God in my ear talking about fear. ‘Who me? Impossible! With all due respect, Lord, surely you have the wrong girl, but if you like I can pass the message on to the woman next to me… Me, I’m a woman of faith so if it’s all the same to you I’d like to get back to the sermon now…’ Can I just tell you I never made it back to the sermon? When I finally stopped trying to justify and defend myself and humbled myself to really listen to what God was saying, I had to agree with him. Fear is defined as: “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger, anxious concern, profound reverence and awe especially toward God, reason for alarm.” Yep there was no denying it, that was me…
Now, being the academy award winning drama queen that I am, I started to think about the implications of this new self discovery...(cue suspenseful music, please.) Oh Lord, did that mean the decisions I’d been making all these years were made out of fear instead of faith? How had I gotten so far off track? More important how did it happen without my knowing it? How did I get back on track? O h Lord, if that was all true, then according to I John 4: 18, God’s love isn’t fully formed in my life! Whoa! Wait a minute! Did that mean I hadn’t really been saved these last 23 years!!! Oh I really worked myself into a state!
When I finally finished my "performance," God was right there ready to minister to me…(I just love Him!) It was in that instant that the preacher’s voice came back into earshot. (Looks like I'll be getting the CD this morning...) He was telling us that in the final moments of the service we should each take time to “do business with God” and let Him minister to us where we need it. He said that instead of pushing him away we should let His love pull us close and let Him heal us where we needed healing. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I jumped at the chance. I came to God with my fear and laid it before Him and let Him do the rest. The result was peace. I don’t have words to adequately describe what took place, but I know of a surety that God did something in my heart. That’s not to imply that everything will be perfect going forward, or even that I’ll never fear again. The difference is even if/when I imagine some impending doom or calamity headed my way, I’ll be sure to keep God in the picture, knowing with Him I don't have to be afraid. Crisis averted. Perhaps this is how His love becomes perfected in us... What do you think?