Fear and Faith: How Do They Fit Together

I had a sweet woman make a profound statement last week that I just could not get out of my head.
The topic? Jesus having fear.
I haven’t been able to stop swirling it around in my brain. I keep bumping into it in my Bible, whether it’s in church, family devotions, or my own personal reading time.  (I get it God. You want my attention to stop here. Subtle.)
Even in Sunday School class the discussion came up of Jesus’ humanity and I found myself raising my hand in a classroom full of people that I didn’t even know and answering the question, “What is one of Jesus’ human traits?” You should have seen the look on the teacher’s face when my hand shot up. I think He wasn’t sure if I would say something crazy or if I was asking if I could use the bathroom. But I just couldn’t hold back from mentioning Jesus having fear in the Garden of Gethsemane. After all, this was clearly what God was trying to get my attention about all week.
Let’s look at the text.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell a similar writing of the night Jesus was in the garden before he was to be taken away to his death. He was agonizing over the thought of what was to come. The Bible never uses the word “fear” and not wishing to add something to God’s Word that is not really there, I am hesitant on how I word this. But if you look at the humanity of Christ, I can’t help but think that fear was there too.

Jesus, being God, knew what was about to come. Not only a harrowing death, but the judgement of the world upon his shoulders. He was to be denied by the Father because of sins WE had committed.
Over and over Jesus asked God to take this cup of death away from him. But in the end, he wanted the Father’s will to be done.

What about fear in our lives? 
It’s almost comical that this is the topic that God has presented me this week. Comical is the wrong word. Critical is more like it.
Fear comes and goes in all of our lives, and mine, of course, is no exception.
It seems that fear has been a heavy, dominant emotion these last few years. Fears of failure. Fears of death. Fears of loneliness. Fears of fear.
I don’t think it necessarily wrong to fear. It’s just once that initial worry lights its flame, what do we do with it?
I’ve learned that faith is trusting that God can take away the hard and scary, but being willing to endure it if He decides not to. 
We could each list the things that terrify us. And since I tend to be transparent, I will list a few of mine. Perhaps you can relate? Perhaps you have some of your own?
The fear of not being good enough.
I wear many hats and have these little faces staring up at me watching my every move. What if I disappoint them? What if I am not the mom I should be?

Answer: I am not good enough. Not in my own eyes, at least. I never am. But am I good enough in the Lord’s eyes? Absolutely! Why would he give his life for me unless I was enough? I am wanted. I am adored. I am treasured beyond any other treasure.

The fear of loneliness.
My life has changed drastically this past year. I am not the person that I was before. I am not surrounded by those who knew who I was, who I am now, and why I have changed. Now, I am in a new city, husband gone, fearing that it will be six, long lonely months.  How do I cope?
Answer: I’m never alone. As long as I cling to this truth, my fear subsides and  I can see my hope. If this is where God has placed our family, then he has a plan for friendships, new and old, to step up and fill in the holes.
The fear of failure.
I’ve started so many things and never finished them, how will I ever follow through with the latest endeavor? I’m in charge of my children’s education, and yet, I find us behind on lesson plans and never finding an end in sight. Why do I even try?
Answer: When God calls us to something and we answer that call, he is simply asking us to come and be ready to work. He will give all the supplies and resources needed for the job. Along with the energy and talent necessary to finish it. So if I feel God’s calling to write or to teach my children, then He will show up with the words, energy, patience, and  know-how that I will need to get this done, each and every single day.
So going back to Jesus in the garden, how did he conquer his fears? I see him kneeling down and begging his Father to take away that which troubled him. He also trusted and knew that God would supply what he needed and when.
I want to be like that. I want to continually fall on my knees and say, “Not my will, but thine be done.”
At the same time though, knowing that it’s perfectly okay to admit defeat and say, “I’m scared. I’m horrified by this circumstance in front of me and I desire you to sweep it away!”

What do you fear today? What brings you agony and distress? What haunts you from the past and hinders you from the future? Lay it at His feet. Drop that big ol’ bag of terror right on the ground, throw your arms up in surrender, and see what God can do with that. Then take a look over, because you will see me there. On my knees too. Arms raised high. And a fresh new bag of fear flung on the ground for God to take.

Posted October 28, 2016

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