I am not typically a fearful person. I need to physically see the doom that is anticipated before I spend any time worrying about it. However, in that season of depression I was afraid of everything.
I remember one day the sky was grey and dreary with ice pellets hitting my car. This was the fourth time I went out driving to see if the electric lines were starting to ice up. And this time I could see the beginnings of ice crystals on the lines. Panic overwhelmed me and I felt the clawing of fear saturate my whole body.
Our family has been without electric many times and managed quite nicely. We have flashlights, candles, a gas grill and even a gas space heater. We would be fine. I knew it, but I didn’t grasp it.
My fear that day was a lie perpetuated by the enemy. He wanted me so focused on the fear that I wouldn’t go to God. Can’t you just see him rubbing his hands together in satisfaction as I allowed fear to lead me away from the life I was purposed for? Can you see the glee in his eyes as he thinks he won this battle?
Ahh, but he didn’t win. Oh, he might win the little things. He may even have won that day. But not the battle, and surely not the war. And that leads us to where we need to go to pull ourselves out of the pit.
Being a Christian doesn't mean we won't face trials. We will, sometimes scary ones. Following Jesus is not a promise of safety. The disciples faced all kinds of fear and persecution. So did Jesus.
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22:39-44
Jesus was afraid, so afraid, He was sweating blood. The angels were tending to Him and He was still afraid. He prayed just like He taught – specifically asking God to take this cup from Him. But He went on to say “not my will, but yours be done.
“Not my will, but yours be done.” That! Right there. “Your will . . .” That is the secret of overcoming fear. It’s not about me, it’s not about us, it’s about God and what He knows is best for us. Jesus knew, He knew that He came here to die. That was the plan all along. But even Jesus was so afraid that He asked God to take the cup anyway. He knew the answer before He even prayed but He asked, and even so, He did the will of God.
What an extraordinary gift this passage is. He felt everything we feel while He was here, including unbelievable fear. And He wasn’t just a little afraid, He had massive fear in that moment. What an incredible blessing to know that Jesus completely understands our giant fears. He has been there, and He overcame His fear to fulfill the purpose His Father planned for Him.
We were not meant to live in fear, we were made to do God’s work. We are conquerors through Jesus, and nothing – not death, nor life, nor angels or demon, not the present or the future and not the powers or anything on this earth can separate us from the love of our God. (paraphrased Romans 8:37-39)
If we live in fear, we can’t trust God.
If we live in fear, we can’t be obedient.
If we live in fear, we are not fulfilling the unique purpose God has for our life.
But if we choose to live in faith, we will rest in a God who carries us through every trial.
When we live in faith, we are obedient. I can promise you, when we are obedient, the most amazing things happen.
When we live in faith, we will find freedom in living out the purpose God chose specifically for you and me.
So, I ask you. Do you choose faith or do you choose fear?