What would it feel like to live without fear?

Until I caught a whiff of fear-free air, I had never even taken stock of how much fear I inhale subconsciously with every breath.

As you know, I have been blessed by Ann Voskamp’s book 1000 Gifts and continue to be unsettled as I read her frequent blogs.  With a few words powerfully placed side-by-side, her ideas jar me, in a healthy but un-balancing way.

Coming back in the car from our family reunion in Destin, Florida last weekend, I read Mike many bits from various blogs and essays, some of which were from Voskamp’s  writings.

One quote made its way into my Evernote file of quotes:

“If God really works in everything, why don’t we thank Him in everything? – furthermore, why be afraid of anything — when God is using everything?”

I stopped and thought – if God’s purpose is to conform me to my older brother, Jesus.  And if He sends everything my way providentially for that reason, then there really is nothing to fear.  Painful, difficult troubles come with pre-planned, stockpiled grace.  I can’t SEE the grace, or feel it.  I just have to trust Him who promises that He will provide.

For a second or two, I actually felt what it would be like not to fear….and at the same time was stunned with how much fear I unconsciously shoulder – all that  joy-sucking weight.

Wake up – walk around – all day – fearing that those I love – will die.

But of course they will die –  so will I!  What I fear is that they will die BEFORE I am ready and the pain will be too much to bear. 

When I’m actually aware of a specific fear scenario (aka – ‘worry’) I like to recall my favorite hero of the faith, George Műller, the German-born British pastor who ran multiple orphanages by faith.  He, his wife and the head matron would pray every day for sufficient milk, bread and coal for furnaces to feed and warmly house the children.  They never asked for money; they never made mention of their needs to anyone OTHER THAN God, even when directly asked.  And He, of course, honored by their faith, always provided what they needed.

But it is Műller’s prayer when wife # 1 lay dying that arrests me and builds my faith.  He prayed Psalm 84:12-13 back to God – “….no good thing do You withhold from those whose walk is blameless. (You are the)  Lord Almighty, blessed (happy, blissful, confidently resting) is the one who trusts in you.”

He trusted God to do what was GOOD for him and God took his wife home.  He then brought another good woman to George.  Műller was able to rest, without anxiety, in his Father’s providential and loving care.  That is a powerful example of living without fear.

As so often happens, when God starts to teach me about something using one resource (i.e. Voskamp’s thoughts just as my youngest son is about to deploy to Afghanistan), He sends in another faith-building barrage to make sure I GET the lesson.  Kris and I continue to meet weekly to study how to let God be the ‘blessed controller’ of our lives.  This week’s lesson reminds us to NOT BE ANXIOUS.   I looked up the Greek word for ‘being anxious/worrying’ – It’s Strong’s G3309 – merimnaō – and it means among other things, to be split into parts, to give part of yourself away (like we do with our thoughts).  It is just the opposite of PEACE. 

And then the very next day, my French devotional focused on Romans 8:28 –

Toutes choses travaillent ensemble pour le bien de ceux qui aiment Dieu.

Toutes choses – ALL THINGS (no exceptions) –  work together –  for the good – of those who love God.

So here is what I am learning.  When I am trusting God that He is the blessed controller (1 Tim 6:15)  of all that happens to me, and that everything that comes my way is pre-planned and carries with it built-in grace and provision, then I can rest in His peace.  As soon as that peace is disturbed, I need to sit up and take notice of where my thoughts just flew, in which direction.  I can repent, remind myself that He is in charge and go back to what I am trying to practice: a moment-by-moment thankful awareness of His goodness and beauty around me (that is DO à la Paul’s counsel and THINK about whatever is True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable, Excellent and Praiseworthy).

It takes effort to fight fear.

And by the way, for all of you who prayed for our family reunion.  I am delighted to report that our Father did more than I could ask or imagine.  It was wonderful:  safe travel, good health, laughter-filled fellowship, gourmet meals, soft sand and calm clear seas, playful card games and reminiscent stories.  Thank you for your caring and faithful prayers.