This was the main point my sister’s pastor was trying to make last Sunday and it’s been rattling around in my head ever since. Not only that, it’s served as a healing balm for a very weary soul.
I’ve often wondered how much my fear negates my faith. While I’m sure it limits its power and how clearly I see God—and I have no doubt it’s a direct result of my earthly nature—I haven’t been sure one way or another if it counts me out of the running for certain tasks or opportunities. It’s an issue that has greatly concerned me of late and I’ve been desperately searching for answers.
Jesus wasn’t making up a pithy saying when he said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matt 7:7-8) He was speaking an incredible truth, and God has used the last several days to prove it to me.
In his message, Pastor Hanke focused on the story of Gideon (Judges 6-8) to illustrate that God will in fact use someone who is completely tangled in the chains of fear, and that He will in fact do great things through someone who has never stood up to a member of his family let alone an entire army, in order to show just how much He cares for his people. God never brushes aside someone who is genuinely seeking to know Him and His will. No matter what their emotional state.
The trouble with fear, I’ve discovered, is that it clouds everything. It’s like trying to drive down a familiar road in a thick winter fog.
I know the road is there, I know there are twists and curves ahead, and I know following that little bit of visible asphalt will eventually bring me to my destination. What I don’t know is if the dark spot off to the side of the road is a mailbox or a large animal about to dart in front of me. As all the possible scenarios of mishap and havoc play out in my mind, my hands grip the wheel more tightly and, as a result, I’m more likely to overreact at the slightest hint of trouble and end up in the very predicament I fear.
But then — O glorious moment! — I come to an incline and the gray is filled with a fiery orange that grows brighter and brighter until I burst through the fog and into blinding sun and clear blue skies.
I may only be on top of that hill for a brief span before the road takes me back down into the obscured valley, but for those few seconds my entire being relaxes in the warmth coming through the glass, and even as the fog begins to envelope me again, the fresh awareness of sun and sky above the darkness is more than enough to combat the melancholy of the mist below.
I’ve come to realize during the past few days just how much time I spend in that spiritual fog, especially of late. Fortunately, this week has been one of sunlight and rest. I didn’t realize just how much I needed it until now.
It’s easy to think that because my life has not gone according to plan that I’m doing everything all wrong. But Pastor Mark reminded me of something I am doing right: Fearful or not I have not stopped seeking the Lord, and that labor itself has not and will not be overlooked by my God.