Hindsight can always be 20/20. Most experiences in life will only be understood as we reflect back rather than as we experience them. And some experiences will never truly be understood except that they made us who we are--for better or worse. Though I have come to believe even the "worse" can be redeemed for our good and His glory.
If you would have asked me two years ago, I wouldn't have considered myself a fearful person. Deep within, I love the adventure of life, the unknown of circumstances, and the possibilities of a new day.
Reflecting back, I can see how and why it unfolded the way it did. When the adventure of life brings you face-to-face with the limited mortality that we truly are, when the unknown of circumstances means the unknown health outcome of you or your family members, when the possibilities for that day mean possibilities you don't necessarily enjoy--that could bring suffering--there is a choice we must face. Will I live in fear or in faith?
And this is the part where tears come. The part I would rather not write or share. The part where I want so badly to say I have always chosen faith.
I chose fear. Now fear can be a good component in life. You don't touch the hot stove because you fear getting burned. This is good and healthy fear. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. True and healthy fear. It's when fear becomes the overriding emotion. The default. The replacement for truth, the crippling effect, the paralysis of faith. It's no longer good. It's pride: to think we know the outcome of a situation before it unfolds. To not factor in God or grace into our circumstances. To allow fear to reign where faith should.
To look back at experiences, we can often see where the enemy was at play. That's easy to see. But we also have to take a look at where God was as well. Because He cannot not be there. He will allow things, He will guide us through situations, He will remain ever present even when we let fear take hold. He is sovereign over the situation even when we feel most out of control.
The beauty of God can be found in His Son coming to earth to suffer in our place, to die and defeat death as only one of perfection ever could, making a way where fear no longer reigns because we cannot be separated from God--because of faith.
Like most sin, the intention and root behind fear was not for evil. It's when it's manipulated and allowed a place it was never meant to take that it becomes a distortion of the truth and reality.
But God, in His sovereignty and grace, made a way for faith to override fear. Because what is the worst outcome in a situation? You die or a loved one dies. You suffer or a loved one suffers. If we have faith in Christ, He has claimed our death and we will live with Him. And if we have faith in Christ, we can expect to suffer and rest assured we have a God and Savior who can relate to us in our suffering and through the Holy Spirit is with us through that suffering. God with us covers our fear with faith that He is present.
So what shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? ...what can separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord?
I have felt the sting of fear. The very power it possesses to cripple us and the lies it empowers us to believe.
But I have also felt the release of control, the greater power of a Father who cares enough for His child to allow me to go through situations as to expose the areas where I allow fear to reign instead of faith, and I have experienced a Lord and Savior who forgives graciously, loves steadfastly, and listens compassionately, and takes my fear and replaces it with faith. A God who takes me on a process to trust Him, and offers the assurance of hope.
There is always hope. Fear will try to take that away leaving you with the worst of scenarios. But faith says there is always Hope.
Choose faith. Choose to relent your control to a God who is already in control. Choose to let faith be your default. It doesn't mean your circumstances will get better, but it does mean you will be more at peace trusting God's sovereignty and allowing Him to guide your emotions and response.
Where does faith come from? We know that faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of Christ. I have come to believe this verse is as much for the believer as the unbeliever. We need the word of God in our life every day. Even if we don't have energy to read it; have it spoken over you by someone else or listen to it being read or sung. Our faith will only grow when the word of Christ is present and His Spirit is allowed to do something with that word in our heart and mind.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. We walk by faith not by sight. We know that the outcome of our faith is the salvation of our souls. When we choose faith, we will choose to lose control over our very life and we will gain true life in Him and His sovereignty over our life.