“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’ ~ Genesis 15:1
I really had a hard time coming up with October’s blog theme. Nothing stuck, until a single word hit me square between the eyes. And it’s perfect for this month. Whether you acknowledge Halloween, or go to Fall Festivals or not, the concept of scary and fearful things are everywhere right now. So, for October, we’re going to talk about fear.
As a child I distinctly remember waking up from bad dreams, but being too fearful to run across the house to my parent’s bedroom. Who knew what was waiting for me in my house’s shadows from here to there. I also remember as a child looking forward to “when I grew up” thinking that I would then not be afraid of things anymore.
I wish that were true. But friend, let me just be real, and reveal a piece of myself to you. I am a very fearful person. Ashamedly so, but I am. I have phobias such as afraid of spiders (I do scream no matter their size). I have irrational fears too (probably because my brain works on over-drive all the time) and I have true, real fears. Fear comes in all different shapes and sizes.
This past week I struggled with fear over dreams not yet coming true. Realizing that dreams are not panning out the way I “planned”, and so I all too easily gave/give into the fear that those dreams may not even happen all-together.
I don’t know if you’re like me at all. Maybe fear isn’t something you struggle with. But I bet someone you know does. God says, “do not fear” 365 times in the Bible. To me, that’s no mistake that we need a reminder to not fear every single day.
Although the concept of fear and being afraid is mentioned from Genesis 3 on, the very first time the actual word “fear” is used in context of people being afraid, is in Genesis 15, the verse above. It’s doubly powerful for me right now, because God was addressing Abram’s dream that he thought would not come true. Isn’t the verse so beautiful? God is SO loving and SO comforting. He doesn’t just tell Abram “Do not fear” period. God said fear not, but then He reminded Abram of truth, of who God is to him, and that comfort is packaged with a promise of reassurance.
I know in my head that I should not fear. I know in my heart that my fear ultimately points to my lack of trust in God, and His good plan for me. But frankly, the head knowledge and the guilt trip of not trusting have never gotten rid of my fears. Looking at this verse, the first time there is f-e-a-r spelled out so clearly, I don’t think the head knowledge and guilt trip are the ways we can get rid of our fear. After years of trying, I know I cannot get rid of my fears on my own. God tells us not to fear, of course. But God is so absolutely loving, that He just doesn’t end with that. He reassures us, and He gives us a promise.
God is with us. God will never leave us or forsake us. He is our peace, and He is our comfort. He is our shield. We are promised that we are heirs with Christ. We are promised that He will wipe away every tear. We are promised that at our final destination, we will live with Him forever.
God didn’t leave us to tackle our fears on our own. That was never His plan, and I am so grateful. He doesn’t condemn us for not trusting Him enough as to get rid of our fear entirely. God lovingly tells us not to fear because God’s got this…whatever your “this” may be. He is sovereign. But in the meantime, as we go through the journey from our fear to His arms…like me as a little girl from my room to my parent’s security…He is there holding out to us our comfort – Himself and His Word. He is with us in the midst of our fears. Thanks be to God.