Last weekend, my husband and I were jet skiing out on the open ocean when the wind picked up and the waves grew large and menacing. A large wave came from behind us and plunged us in its trough. It felt as if we were on a submarine in dive mode. Once we popped back up to the surface, we were able to get back on the ski and continue on. Terrified and shaken, I wanted to head back to safety as soon as possible. I had no problem communicating my fear to my husband.
God has never asked me to ignore or “stuff my fear.” Not long ago, I felt tied up with low level anxiety and went to pray. The thought rose to the surface of my prayers, “What are you so afraid of? Tell me.” I named each fear as it popped up: fear of isolation, deprivation, and loneliness. They seemed like roaring lions at a circus and God was the lion tamer who subdued the beasts into submission. When placed before God, the fears looked silly, toothless and impotent.
Perhaps this is what David understood when he wrote:
The Lord is my light and my salvation–
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life–
of whom should I be afraid?
Paul must have asked himself the same questions when he left the warmth and safety of the Ephesian community. He knew he would never see them again and that trouble was heading his way. I know better than to trust in myself to slay the monsters in my life; I fall back to the one who knows and loves me.To be human is to be acquainted with fear; to know God is to know the One conquers fear.