We All Live WITH Fear
I was eight years old and terrified.
I’d taken my bike for a spin in our neighborhood when it suddenly morphed into a Stephen King bicycle — a sort of Christine the Possessed Car’s cousin. My bike seemed alive and determined to be rid of me.
Each time I planted my foot on the brakes, the pedal sprung, catapulting my foot forward with such force it nearly threw me over the handlebars.
When I reached the top of my long, steep, winding driveway, lined with trees and drop-offs, I faced a dilemma: How to get down it without brakes and survive.
Before you ask why I didn’t just walk my bike down the driveway, I refer you again to the first paragraph. I was eight years old and apparently not very smart.
Wide-eyed and shrieking in terror, I leaned into every turn like an out-of-control BMX racer.
Having miraculously maneuvered to the bottom of the drive at full speed, I steered for the softest landing I could find. Mom’s rounded boxwoods.
I careened into them and crawled out with only minor scratches. The bushes didn’t fare as well.
For a few terrifying moments, I lived with fear.
We all live WITH fear, but we don’t have to live IN fear.
I survived those terrifying moments without developing a fear of bikes. Just that bike until Dad fixed the brakes.
I can’t say as much for the devastating impact one news report had on me around the same time period.
The late night newscaster reported the gruesome murder of two physicians in their home in my city: “The Matthews Murders.”
Since my dad was a doctor, too, my little mind told me we might be next.
Fear paralyzed me, and that fear grew deep roots.
For the next 30+ years, I lived in fear of sleeping at home alone. (Watching horror films like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” in high school probably didn’t help.)
Plant Faith, Not Fear. Always
Fear is like a weed.
It grows in even the worst conditions and takes over everything.
Faith is like an heirloom flower.
It requires nurturing at first, but eventually, its roots grow deep and strong and produce a highly prized blossom.
The Only Thing Stronger Than Fear is Faith
Some of us may have faith in our own abilities, but then not all of us are like Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent in the movie Taken, who said to his daughter’s kidnappers on the phone:
I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.
Spoiler alert: He was right.
But even Bryan Mills isn’t all-powerful — or real.
God, on the other hand, is all-powerful — and real.
He has a particular set of skills, skills He’s possessed forever — the fullness of His perfect character.
God’s skills make people like us who trust in Him a nightmare for fear and for Satan.
Satan is a liar and accuser. He tells us we must live in fear, that we’ll never be free of it. But God says, “I see your fear, and I will destroy it through faith.”
Faith Versus Feelings
When we plant our faith in God, it will grow and overwhelm our feelings of fear.
While it can happen overnight, it probably won’t. At least it didn’t for me. But don’t give up.
Deep roots of fear don’t die easily. It takes bold faith, which grows over time, as we experience God more and more.
God gives faith, but He doesn’t force it on us.
Step out in faith. One step at a time, saying, “I can’t, God, but You can. And You will.”
Our actions will reveal our Faith. We can’t wait until we feel full of faith before we step out. The feelings come later.
We prove we believe God will give us the faith we need for the next step by taking that first step, and then the next and the next.
Our heart will fall in line with our faith eventually. Just keep stepping.
Step out past your fears into faith and trust in God’s unchanging, matchless skills — His perfect character.
Our fears will die — Always — but only if we first step out in faith.
I Did It!
About 30 years after I planted the fear of sleeping alone, I planted my first seed of faith, taking a small step that felt giant at the time.
Larry and the kids had gone on a trip, so I locked all the doors, laid in bed with the radio on the Christian station, and prayed. “I know that no one can get into this house without Your permission, God, and I trust in You. No matter what happens tonight. I trust in You.”
I woke a few times during the night, but each time, I prayed again and won a victory I hadn’t won in nearly 30 years. And my faith grew.
Eventually, my faith grew such that one night I actually forgot to lock the doors before I went to sleep. No radio. No fear. Just faith in my unfailing God — no matter what happens.
But thanks be to
leads us in triumph
and manifests through us
the sweet aroma
of the knowledge
in every place.
~ 2 Corinthians 2:14 NASB