Sunday, November 22, 2015

For the Days When You're Tempted to Choose Fear Over Faith: What God Really Wants of Us in Troubled Times

This world has been flooded, overwhelmed, virtually drowning in fear for some time now.
It seems each dawn brings a new wave of foaming, crashing terror down on the heads of anyone who dares to turn on the news.
I have lived like that.
I've had days when I was scared to leave the house, and nights I've laid in bed rigid and stiff, refusing to sleep lest the noises morph into nightmares.
When I was a child, it was the fear of the pine tree crashing through my bedroom during a storm, and as an adult it has been the fear of a thief breaking down doors to steal those things most precious to me.
There are times I've shut myself into the bathroom and huddled on the floor crying, scared of myself, my unbelief, my sinful soul.
I can't count the number of days, months I've lost the battle against one of the Evil One's greatest weapons.
And I refuse to live that way anymore.
Though I cannot recall the day or the circumstances, I do remember the moment I understood that the opposite of faith was not doubt, but fear.
And when that truth dawned in my heart, it shed light on so many other areas I was continually falling in, failing to see my fear for what it was -- sin.
But without faith it is impossible to please him, and every time I let fear grip my heart, I was no longer living in faith.

When God called us to Ghana, He gave us a promise, and part of it was a command to fear not, and though I've often broken that command, He has never broken His promise to me.
As a family, we've chosen to take hold of this truth to fear not, and we wrestle with it, and work at it, and train it into our children's minds, and preach it to ourselves, and get back up when we fail, because there is NO reason to ever live in fear when God is our Father.
He's working and moving and turning every evil thing into something good, and I cannot understand Him, but I can trust Him.

As this truth grows in our hearts and minds, and our eyes are opened wider and our vision becomes clearer we can see God in this world, and His goodness surrounding and yes, His hand protecting us from all this evil world could be, but is not.
I see His faithfulness in the sun rising and setting on the just and the unjust.

I catch glimpses of His glory filling even the quiet, dusty corners with golden light.

 I see His countless gifts to us as I clean up our dishes after eating the food they contained to nourish our bodies.

And we daily count the blessings of toys our hands can play with, and living books that light a fire in our souls, and a shining moon in the sky to fill the dark with the light, and the tiny spider weaving it's silvery web just because God wanted him to.

And we build castles in the air and lots on our tables, too, and we try to gather up these fleeting moments as a second by second reminder of just how good God is to let us live this life.
A friend brings a gift from the village, and a tree forms food for the plucking, and we take paintbrush in hand to copy the masters whose skills God bestowed on men so they could in turn fill the world with just a bit more beauty.

We see God's goodness in the life of a new baby, the soft creaminess of her new skin, and the hope that every baby is born with: that she will grow to someday be a child of God.

We find plants that not only give joy to the eyes, but also health to the body, and we listen as the birds chirp their sweet songs of praise to God, and we take the torn and worn and and refashion them into a day of enjoyment, and all because God is good and He can be trusted and faith is a choice I must make daily.

We live in a shadowland, and none of these things are clear pictures of all God is, and there are days when it seems so dark that the sun might be snuffed right out, but the bounty that surrounds us is a faint image of all the beauty God is, and can't we find gladness in longing for all he is preparing for us someday?
So we fight the fear with faith, and we open our eyes to the gifts that surround us, and we trust Him in the good He is doing, and we walk by faith not by sight, and we let the truth of Who He Is wash over us, drenching us in His everlasting love.


  1. Sitting here weeping. This is beautiful. Just beautiful. I never really thought of the truth that fear is the opposite of faith. Thank you, Patty. And, as always, I absolutely love your vignettes of beauty. I know you seek it. I am learning to do the same.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. It was something that I definitely needed.