When life explodes, I rest in Christ, Who must do all. (See When Life Explodes — Part One.)
If I’m resting in Christ and have confident assurance that God is in control, how is it possible that I’m still battling fear? That’s what I asked God recently. I found the answer in the Gospel of John.
While Jesus lived on earth, we see that He lay, sat, walked, stood, rose, reclined, was asleep, and even fell on His face before God in prayer, but we never see Him curled up in a fetal position.
Jesus never displayed Fetal-Position Faith, which says, “not Your will, God, but mine be done! Please, oh please, oh please, oh please!”
Jesus displayed Face-Down Faith, which says, “Not My will, God, but Yours be done.” (Matthew 14:36)
Face-down faith is a selfless faith. It not only recognizes the sovereignty of God to control every situation, but it’s also fine with His choices.
Face-down faith acknowledges that God is God and can, therefore, do as He pleases. It never loses sight of His perfect character. It understands that God’s choices are the ones we’d make for ourselves, too, if we could see what He sees.
In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego displayed face-down faith and were rewarded with the ultimate story to share over dinner. Imagine being able to say, “The other day my buddies and I were walking around in a fire…”
I’m jealous of their story—on this side of it!
If I’d been there with them before the miraculous end, I’d only have known was that if God didn’t stop it from happening, my friends and I would die. Even trusting in God’s sovereignty, I’d likely have curled up into a fetal-position, begging God not to let our death be part of His great plan.
Fetal-Position Faith says, “not Your will, God, but mine be done! Please, oh please, oh please, oh please!”
If only God would let us see the end from the beginning—as He sees it—when life explodes, but then we wouldn’t need faith, we’d have sight.
If I’d had sight at the fiery furnace, I would’ve been excited, not fearful, knowing in advance that I’d be walking out victorious, without even the smell of smoke on me. God shows us what He wants us to see, though, for a reason.
While we wait for sight, how do we move from Fetal-Position Faith to Face-Down Faith?
First, we need to understand some things about fear, and then some things about ourselves.
Some Facts About Fear:
- The more we love something, the more thoughts of something bad happening to it causes fear to grow in our hearts, sometimes even paralyzing us.
When my children were young, we took them to the state fair and placed them onto rides we’d just watched other mother’s children enjoy. However, the instant the ride took off with my children, fear gripped me. Terrified I’d witness them catapulting into the stratosphere, I couldn’t watch them. I only feared the ride when it held my children.
- Fear makes us feel intensely . . . for some it’s exciting, for others it uncomfortable.
Thrill junkies thrive on the sensation. Fear drives them forward with excitement and the exhilarating rush of adrenalin. For normal people like me, the sensation of fear is more than just uncomfortable—the rush of adrenalin is terrifying. Others fall somewhere in between.
Some Facts About Us:
- What makes us feel uncomfortable varies depending on the person.
Bring out a syringe in front of my oldest daughter and she may pass out. Draw a gallon of blood from my youngest daughter, and she’ll marvel at the blood flowing through the tube.
My son hangs off cliffs for fun. I can’t even watch a cartoon of a kid hanging off a cliff.
- We don’t like to feel uncomfortable.
A thrill junkie has a high discomfort-tolerance, but when theirs is reached, they don’t like it either.
I suppose God gave us that threshold to stop us from doing something that would kill us. Most of us don’t cross that threshold. Others of us say, ‘Hey y’all! Watch this!”
- We’ll attempt to stop whatever causes us discomfort, unless a stronger emotion takes over.
Nothing portrays this better than the movie 127 Hours, which is based on the true story of the lone mountain climber whose arm got helplessly stuck in a rock. His fear of cutting his arm loose was terrifying. The fear of dying there alone overcame that fear of excruciating pain. He cut off his own trapped-arm with a small multi-tool knife, and not only lived to tell about it, but also to have James Franco play him in the movie.
How does Face-Down Faith become Fetal-Position Faith?
Knowing some facts about us and about fear sheds light on why at times we’re able to walk in Face-Down Faith and other times we curl up into Fetal-Position Faith.
We may be fully confident that God can do all things, but fearful He’ll choose a path that makes us uncomfortable beyond our limit.
Thus, we get to the root of the problem for us:
God is ok with pain.
Don’t you just want to scream, “NO!!!” as I do?
What are we to do with this truth?
Read my next post, When Life Explodes — Part Three, where I’ll share with you what I believe God has taught me through the Bible about how we can walk in the freedom and light of face-down faith instead of curling up cowering and defeated, in fetal-position faith when life explodes.
(Quick, important disclaimer: I am NOT saying God is fine with abuse. Any abuse is wrong. Wisely seek immediate help. Those who are abused are often too afraid to expose their abuser. Throw yourself face-down before God and trust Him to give you the strength to get to safety. Curling up in a fetal-position and staying in the abusive situation will only lead to a worse situation down the road.)
Have you ever experienced fetal-position faith, or am I the only one? I’d love to hear from you. Click on “Comment.”
To read When Life Explodes — Part Three Click Here.