When We Awaken To Fear.
I stood still and quiet in our kitchen. My phone connected to the little white cord that powers it; tethered to the room where meals are made and appetites fed. Between the headlines that screamed at me, saddened me, shook me, I heard my toddler sons laughing and chasing childhood in the living room close by.
I felt tears swell in my eyes and my nose twitch.
Lord, help us. Save us.
I felt a tug at my leg, and my youngest stared up at me through his baby eyes, and said, “hel-lo.”
A small word, an innocent reminder to break away from a world that wants to scare and break and fight and to be present. A reason to proclaim – Our Lord has saved us.
I picked him up and let him carry me away from the heartache for awhile. What I hadn’t thought on until this moment was just whose heart was really aching.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
I look at our children, and I see a greater love. It is a love that challenges me, delights me and wraps me up in sticky fingers. It is a love that give me hope, teaches me mercy and shows me grace. It is not always an easy love. It takes effort and sacrifice and service. It often brings me to my knees in prayer and always lifts my head to heaven with thanksgiving.
And so at a time when fear seeks to steal and kill and destroy, I run to my Father, and I ask Him to fight. I ask Him to protect us from the enemy, the evil one.
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” 1 John 3:8
And how can we know the devil’s work?
Living in a skeptic world, where reason confronts and faith in one’s self is often an easy answer, we must ask ourselves if there is an enemy in evil; is there a heaven and a hell?
It seems obvious that evil exists, as secularism, as well as major world religions all agree in various points of right and wrong. Inevitably, one’s ability to control such impulses of right and wrong will eventually lead to a community of peace or chaos.
The Christian Bible is clear on the characteristics of sin, of evil, of a cosmic battle that reaches down into our world. We learn of satan, as deceiver, as stealer of joy and of peace. We are given the choice to run from him or join him.
In C. S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce,” he describes such a choice as follows:
“Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others… but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God “sending us” to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE HELL unless it is nipped in the bud.”
And this is the battle we face. As Lewis puts it, “there are only two kids of people — those who say “Thy will be done” to God or those to whom God in the end says, “Thy will be done.”
And this is where the heart aches.
And this is where we awaken to fear. It is not the fear of man. It is the fear of a righteous and Holy God.
We will all make this choice.
As for me and my family:
We will remember that “many who are last will be first.” Matthew 19:30
It is not for our own pride or power or performance that we thrive. It is because we are saved, because we are loved by a redeeming Father. And we know this, because of Jesus. There is no other way to look at this world that is wrecked by a self-seeking torment than to meet the Savior Jesus of the Bible and realize that God came down to deliver us and have relationship with us.
We will believe The Beatitudes. Matthew 5:1-12
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall See God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake (Jesus). Rejoice and be Exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the profits before you.”
We will have faith to move mountains. Matthew 17:20
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as this mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Over and over we are told in scripture that we must trust; our faith is invaluable. We will all choose to believe something. We will believe Jesus.
We will fight. Ephesians 6:10-18
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Our God does not reward us for persecution. Our God was persecuted, yet He overcame. He reigns in victory. His power is ours.
And I inhale and exhale a peace that passes all understanding. I look at the little faces that reflect the handiwork of a God I cannot comprehend and this world cannot contain. I am overwhelmed by a price that was paid for the evils I’ve chosen, and I let His blood wash it all away.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” 1 John 4:18
And for those of us who believe, our punishment took place on a cross and our penalty was paid and our pardon was made. And that is love and life and God reaching down to help us – to save us.
Oh, God, help us to seek you and share you and love you most of all.
Friends, as we continue to be hurt by the evils of this world, be it violence and rage or even bitterness in our own hearts as we often seek to serve ourselves, let us serve our King instead and look to Him for help. We must decide if we believe in eternity and that our souls will live on. If so, will we choose salvation or not? Will we live as saved or not? Will we ache for those who will spend forever apart from the only good we know to be lasting – our God? Please join with me in parenting our families under the protection, peace and joy of our Father. He has overcome.