It was a beautiful sunny day – perfect for a walk at Independence Grove. As I made my way around the last loop surrounding the lake I spotted a large turtle sunning himself (or herself?) on a rock near the shore. Having my trusty smart phone in hand, I thought, “what a great picture this would make!” So I began to position myself for the shoot, creeping slowly and quietly toward the unsuspecting reptile. As I got closer, and began to raise my phone to capture the image, the turtle noticed me, and quick as a flash, slid off the rock and into the water. As careful as I was, I had scared him. So much for my great photo opp! Fear. It’s powerful. Much more powerful than we might realize. Much more powerful than it should be. Fear got that slow moving turtle to slip off the safety of his rock faster than I could blink! This made me consider what kind of role fear plays in my life. If I really think about it, and I’m really honest, I bet most of my “issues” can be traced to some sort of fear. I believe fear is one of is the best and most effective weapons in our enemy’s arsenal. For instance, aren’t worry and anxiety just fear with more sophisticated names?
For the past two years I have been taking care of my elderly parents. Yes, it is a joy and a blessing to have them near after all these years, and to be able to serve them in this way! But I worry. I worry about what the coming weeks, months and years hold. How difficult will it be for them to increasingly lose mobility and health? How difficult will it be for me to help them through it? My mother has dementia. She has almost no short-term memory, and has experienced certain difficult personality changes. I worry about how this will progress. And, to be honest, I can’t help but worry if I will end up afflicted with the same condition.
What does this fear produce in me? Well, for one thing, it produces anxiety—an overall physical and emotional feeling of sheer vulnerability, a vague, but very real sense of dread. If you suffer from anxiety, you are nodding your head about now. If you don’t, there is not much I can say to adequately describe the feeling for you. Anxiety is a creeping fear with deep, strong roots, lurking in the shadows of our life, waiting for that perfect opportunity to strike.
How does fear do this? Fear distracts me from the truth. Fear rolls into my life like a thick cloud cover and blocks the light of God, preventing His truth from permeating my circumstances and penetrating my heart. Fear, like the enemy that sends it my way, wants to rule. And so, a struggle begins. There can be only one ruler in my life. I choose God. Yes, it’s a choice. I know that my battle with fear begins here. I choose to believe God and to work at allowing His truth to rule, making no room for fear.
God has much to say to us about fear through His Word. (Stay tuned for more over the coming days…) Let’s focus our hearts on these verses today:
The LORD is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?
The one thing I ask of the LORD—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. For he will conceal me there when trouble comes; he will hide me out of reach on a high rock. Psalm 27:1, 4-5 NLT
I think King David is onto something here. Why does David long to live forever in the house of the Lord? Not because of the beautiful stained glass windows or the comfortable seats—but because of the safety and security found in the presence of, and at the heart of, God. David enjoyed an intimate, abiding relationship with God and understood that all real security and peace stemmed from this place. God himself was David’s fortress—his place of security—the place where fear could not rule.
I would rather be like David than like that turtle. As waves of fear rippled over the turtle, he instinctively slid from his safe and solid rock into the darkness of the lake. But as fear threatened to surge into King David’s life he decidedly turned his eyes, his mind and his heart to the One true Rock. The only One who can safeguard our very lives for eternity.
What is your fear struggle? We’ve all got them from time to time. Let me know so I can pray for you. And let me encourage you to read Psalm 27 today. Ask God to speak to you regarding the fear in your own heart. Decide today to choose God as the ruler of your life. Give Him your fear. Allow Him to be your fortress, your Rock of security.