Friday, November 14, 2008

The Absence of Fear

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day... Psalm 91:5

He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7

As the older kids and I were traveling home last evening I was struck with the thought that I could think of only a few moments in the past nine months where I have been afraid. It could be that I have no time for such a feeling could be as the Psalms say "The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?"
I have a lot to be fearful about. Finances, raising fatherless children, the future, death itself. But, surprisingly I have looked death in the face and have found no fear but rather peace. As I work on our budget I have this calm assurance that the Lord will provide. I have flippantly told the kids that according to statistics they will fail and go on to live ungodly lives because they do not have a father to guide them - their comments back? "We will just have to prove the statistics wrong!". What is there to fear of the future? The future that I had dreamed of has completely changed and yet I am still standing, still walking on, still dreaming.
The few times that I could have been consumed by fear have been when I thought of someone breaking into our home at night (how would I defend my family?) and when I have struggled with the idea of finding someone who would marry a 41 year old woman with six children (two of whom are black!). BUT, the next breathe that I breath is the phrase "God is in control."
Those words cast out all fear.
"When I am afraid I will trust in You" is an old (and I mean old!) song from Steve Green's Hide 'Em In Your Heart series. It is taken from Psalm 56:3. When my children were afraid of the dark I would sing this to them and eventually they would sing it to themselves to calm their fears. In those moments where I have the fleeting thought of fear I sing these words to myself. I have said it before, singing or quoting scripture just seals it in your heart. That moment of vulnerability is subdued by the Word of God.
As I have read and re-read the Psalms over the past nine months I have been challenged. It seems that if you fear the LORD there is no place in your heart for fear...being afraid. The above scriptures are four of about eight scriptures that deal with being afraid. There were hundreds that deal with fearing the Lord God Almighty. So, could it be that fearing God Almighty keeps you far from fear? If you fill you heart with fear for the Lord there is no room
for fear of man or this world.


CristyLynn said...

Thank you, Heather! I needed to read this! Thank you for your openness and wisdom.
We're praying for you!

godlover said...

Heather, I have come to understand that you are the most-put-together person I know. You rest in God and in God alone. You feed your mind with Scriptures and hymns and songs and conversation. You keep your focus on one object alone and that is God Himself. I'm proud of you for the way you've carried on at a time when I would have been a basket case. I'm proud to call you my sister in the Lord because you are a great Christian. One I wouldn't hesitate to build my life around. It's been a tough 9 months but you've come through with flying colors. And I'm proud of you in those doubting and insecure times when you've chosen to do what you know to be the right thing, regardless of how it "feels." I'm especially proud of you that you didn't give up. You've kept the faith. Even in your darkest days you have stayed faithful to your promises to God. You are indeed an amazing woman. Oh, I know, it's all God. But it's not all God, you've had to stay receptive if only that. "Whatever your will Lord, that's my plea," that is your every breath. And I am especially proud of the way you have kept Scripture centered in your life. We have affirmations in my faith (denomination?) and 1st and foremost is the centrality of Scripture, the Bible. That it is alive and active, dividing bone and marrow. The 2nd affirmation is the necessity of a new birth. We MUST be born again from above. No. 3 is the whole mission of the church. No. 4 is the fellowship of believers in the body of Christ. No. 5 is a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. And the last one, No. 6, is the freedom we have in Christ. "It is for freedom that I set you free." And you, Heather, embody all. You could agree with all of these affirmations. The Bible is not just a Sunday book. Our code of conduct (love) isn't reserved for believers only and it doesn't have an expiration date stamped on the bottom. In your life, Heather, you truly do embody all this that I hold dear and essential. I thank God for you every single day. I thank Him for bringing you into my life because you have taught me so much. You have been a blessing for me and so many others who read your blog. I thank Him for your faithfulness and your determination to stay always within the will of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I thank Him for your determination to keep your promises to Him. You have looked adversity in the eyes and declared: But as for me and my household, we shall serve the Lord.

Thank you, Heather, for all that God has made you to be and for giving Him permission to do His will in your life, whatever that may be. I have grown so much in the past 9 months and most of it is directly and indirectly sided with you. I can't imagine life without you and your family being in it and I wonder how I possibly managed before your friendship! You are indeed a wonderful child of God! And may he richly bless your obedience. I continue to pray for you every day and can't imagine ever stopping. It's like you are a permanent attachment to my life. Like best friends. No, like family! You are definitely like family. May God continue to bless you and keep you holy, set apart from others. You are one of the chosen few. I look forward to years of friendship with you. Give Goose, Boo, Miss M, Daisy, Lil' Cowboy, and of course your delightful little Brown Sugar. God bless you. God bless you ALL!!

Lazy D Ranch said...

What a compliment! Wow, I highly doubt I deserve such sweet words but I thank you all the same. Every word I speak on this blog is not only from my heart but placed there by my Savior.
God bless you friend ~Heather