Do not give way to fear.

 

 

I have been hesitant to write this blog. I preferred the one that was on my heart last week. It was easy, encouraging, more….uplifting.

Last week the bible study I lead was exploring the faith of Sarah – wife of Abraham. The main message was “do not give in to fear, no matter what you face.”

Easy. Simple. Been there, done that. Yep, I have seen, conquered and overcome.

Now, here me clearly as I say this. I do not think for any moment that I have arrived in any great area of faith in God. In fact, I would say that I am “in training”. God has been slowly training me for many years and I would say also that I am steadily growing in faith.

Now back to Sarah…

Sarah, from what was written in the bible was a woman who was no wilting violet. She left her home town to move to an unknown land with her husband. She was barren – which in those days was like a really big problem and she was kind of on the outer when it came to acceptance in society. Then twice she was told by her husband to say that she was his sister, so that he would not get killed. The reason for this was that she was beautiful. So beautiful that at 90 years of age she was taken into a king’s harem.

The study referred to a scripture in 1 Peter 3:6b that says this – “do what is right and do not give way to fear.” (Because I need to talk about one thing in this blog, I am not quoting the whole verse. But I will keep it in context anyway.)

The main message I got out of the study was this, no matter what happens, or who is in control of your life, or what ever is out of control in your life – there is a place of peace in not allowing the fear to run your heart and emotions. Note that Peter did not say “don’t have fear” he simply says “don’t give way to fear”.

The whole scripture of I Peter 3:5-6 is one that I struggle with a lot. As a former abused wife, I struggled with with this verse. Especially since I have heard it time and time again without the clarification of other scriptures to put with it. But I always understood and comprehended the concept of not “give away to fear”. I lived it and breathed it for many years. And while I now do not live in the same fear, I have faced many fears since with the same understanding – God sees and fixes. Even if He doesn’t fix it, I can still trust Him to bring me through and give me wisdom in my decisions.

The one thing I wanted to get through to my bible study ladies was that no matter what, don’t give into the fear that you feel. It takes away your ability to trust, to live with a sense of peace and to operate without being run by the fear that threatens to take over. This was the message I want to reach them with.

When I left the bible study, I felt that I had not reached them and somewhere it had not touched my inner person either. I pondered this as I drove home. Five minutes after reaching my house God answered my pondering.

A situation that had been simmering in a particular lady’s life for months came to an eruption from her husband. This person exploded and said some things that were very hard to take. She was stunned, hurt, and broken-hearted. Her husband said to her that she was stupid, moronic and dumb. This person was angry and resentful and there was nothing she could do about it. He accused her of many things, things that were no where near the truth. The anger that came out of his mouth was vicious and callous. She was scared by what she saw in him and had no idea how to deal with the situation.

After he walked out, she sat crying. While assessing the situation with her, the Lord spoke clearly, “….do not give way to fear…”. My own experience of what I have gone through before came to the fore and I was able to rely on first hand account of what I had known of the faith I had learnt before.

The message that I was struggling to share could now be the testimony of hope. Due to the need for her to say anonymous, this is all I will share about her because I can draw on my own past experience to tell the story.

I have spent all my life with people telling me that I was not worth anything. That my thoughts, words, actions and life were nothing. I grew up being told by my father that I was stupid, my first marriage was the same. I spent 36 years being told that I was stupid and dumb.

“…do not give way to fear….”

Being brought back to your deepest insecurities and pain cut deeper for some of us. It sucks us into a vortex of hurt and misery. We fear that they are correct. We fear that we are pretending that we are intelligent. We fear so much and hurt so much that we crawl back inside ourselves, as a reaction to our own fears.

“….do not give way to fear…”

We wanted to crawl away and acknowledge their correct assessment of our character and person. We want to acknowledge their summery of our lack of brains and it’s lack of intelligence. Surely we are not worth the space on this planet.

“…do not give way to fear…”

Like Sarah, We sit awaiting our fate and praying for God’s rescue. The time he rescued us before should serve to remind us of His love for us, but we remember our terror then.

“…do not give way to fear…”

These words echoed in my mind for the rest of the evening while my husband and children walked around me, not knowing that inside was a turmoil and pain I felt for this person. They echoed during the night when I woke, and they echoed time and time again the next day as I fought the fear and dread of times past. God was taking me through my past and reminding me of what He means when we can rely on Him for our protection and help.

God spoke so many times over the next few days to this lady. The peace that came over her as God spoke was something that is indescribable. Despite the pain and turmoil, there was the sense that God was all over the situation. What I found was that God was all over me too as I was able to bring my past to the present as a victory already won.

“….do not give way to fear…”

For many years I have experience God doing just what He has done to this lady this week. He speaks to your mind and your heart and stops you freefalling into the deep canyon of despair and doubt.

Fear causes us to react in desperation and hopelessness. It rides a giddy wave of ups and downs. It rips at your very being and drags you down to the lowest of lows. Once you give in, it tightens its grip and laughs at your attempts to get free. But God has this way of reaching out, even through that words of a bible study hours earlier and you hang on to the arm of Almighty God.

Words spoken by others cause you to wonder if everyone feels the same about you, and you pull back not wanting to hear their words.

I have been watching as a number of people lately, including a Pastor, tear at me with unkind words and judgments. They have called me names and spread rumours and lies about me. I am not reacting, but I am hurting. Some are trying to change who I am, by saying who they think I am. I fear that they are correct. The fear is wanting to run my life and my mind. God knows differently.

“….do not give way to fear…”

The more I acknowledge that God is faithful, the more I know God has even this one. These incidents are beyond me, but not beyond God. By not giving way to the fear inside and the condemnation from the outside, I also acknowledge that my faith is not in myself, but in God who called me and made me who I am.

“….do not give way to fear…”

Other people are challenging my ministry and God’s call on my life. I know it was God who called me, I know what He has for me to do. He then confirmed it by telling my husband before he asked me to marry him. I have people who are making it their business to speak into my life, whether I want it or not. This does not bother me. I will do what God wants me to do, how He wants me to do it, and when He chooses. He is all over that one too.

“….do not give way to fear…”

At the moment there are situations that sit unresolved, and I am waiting for the wisdom I need to speak or to walk away from these people. This lady needs to make decisions not based on fears but based on the confidence that God is with her in whatever decision she makes. Fear will keep her there and break her apart.

Over the past years of living my life for God and trusting in Him, is the understanding that God creates from chaos. From the very beginning He created. My God is so big that He is the God of Creation, therefor I can trust Him. He can handle my life.

Years ago, the same situation that this lady is going through, would have turned her into a mess of anxiety, confusion and fear for weeks. This time due to God’s words, she is still strong. One day I pray for the ability to grow in faith, no matter where her life leads.

I am aware that there are beautiful women that I in my circle of friends and acquaintances who have situation beyond their control. I stand with them in prayer and in person as they face the fears and wade through the murky situations that surround them. My prayer for them and myself is that in the midst of the storms that they will find a peace that comes from trusting in the God who is Creator, Almighty God and Father, He made them and knew the circumstance before it happened. Our failings are not a surprise to Him, neither are our successes.

It doesn’t matter whether it is a –

failing or faltering marriage

an abusive husband,

a wayward or estranged adult child,

the loss of a business,

a ruined reputation by gossip,

a past or present marred by our own mistakes and choices,

the death of a child,

illness and disease…

 

we have a God who sees our heart cry, our tears, our pain and allows us to fall sobbing in His arms while we watch as our world’s fall apart. He cannot and will not override the free will of another person, but He will do all He can to bring the outcome we pray for.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 NKJV

When people speak words of death and anger, it is their intention to bring us to the point of pain. God speaks life, His words build us up while challenging us to be everything we can be. His intentions for us are for good and His motive for us pure.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer 29:11-13 NIV

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life…” Deut 30:19-20 NIV

We have parents, friends, former spouses, church members, leaders in the church, siblings, workmates, bosses….in fact, we have many people who open their mouths and speak words that lack in care, insight and wisdom. This also must not be forgotten – that we ourselves are guilt of the same. Too many times words come out and we cannot take them back. They hang on someone’s head like a heavy weight and load them up with unnecessary burdens.

God can fix our hearts and our bodies, He is fully trustworthy and able to believed. Until you comprehend that God can do the unbelievable, our fear will run or life.

I have people who have scars, deep scars, after what they have been through in this life. I cannot answer those questions, but I can point to my testimony and I can refer them to people in the bible.   Will our wounds eventually reveal themselves as the marks of God’s goodness and grace.

The uncontrollable and unforeseeable has always challenges the hearts of a woman. We long for the love, protection and security of the known. We want gathered to us – the marriage partners we love, the children we have borne, the friends we have grown to love, and the loved ones we surround ourselves with. On top of this we want the walls of homes to stay around us and the country we live in to remain a place of safety.  This does not always happen.

What needs to remain is the peace in our soul, because this is ultimately the only thing we are in charge of. When our soul (that is, our mind will and emotions) become damaged, God even promises to restore this. Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul..”

My prayer for this lady and for the women of this world is this –

I pray for peace to your hearts and minds as you face uncertain days. That God will give you strength and wisdom through His Spirit and boldness in your inner being.

I pray that God will raise you up, scars and all, to fight for your marriages, your family, your friends and especially for your children.

I pray that you will speak words that build others up, encourage others and that your words will have a life long effect on those within your circle of influence and care.

I pray that your emotions will settle and that fear will be placed aside.

And finally that you will know your God to not only be your loving Father, but your Jehovah Shalom – your peace and you will not give way to fear.

 

Be blessed.

 

 

 

 

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