“Jon,” he said, “What do you think the opposite of fear is?”
I thought about it for a second before my answer hit me…
When I was child, I was afraid of the dark, and to be honest, I probably still am. Many of us struggled with that probing fear of monsters lurking in our closet or hiding under the bed. If you were at all like me, your plan of action in moments like these was to simply scream until somebody came to the rescue. As soon as mom or dad entered the room however, my fear completely subsided. Why was this so? The circumstances hadn’t really changed, there very well may still have been a monster in the closet, the only difference was that now I had someone near me that I trusted. Fear no longer had a place in my heart, because I trusted that even if the monster was there that my parents would protect me. I had, without trying, simply replaced fear with trust.
Rarely do we think about fear and trust being so intimately connected, especially from a spiritual standpoint, but David makes the connection incredibly clear with the powerful words of Psalm 56…
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you….
In God I trust and am not afraid.”
David, through his many hardships, has discovered the truth of 1 John 4:18, that “perfect love casts out fear”. It is by trusting in God’s perfect love for us that we can live a life free from fear, worry, and anxiety, even in the midst of incredibly adverse circumstances.
Now, this sounds like a great idea in theory, but I'm be lying if I told you that I didn't struggle with how to actively trust God in my life. “Entrust your entire life to God” is a big, abstract, general command thrown out by many in contemporary Christian culture. While entrusting my life to God is the goal, I’ve found along the way that it’s also a very difficult thing to measure. Every time I tried to “trust God more” with my life, I was always at loss for exactly what areas I was withholding from Him in the first place. I wanted to give myself over to Him, but I had no way of measuring where I was lacking trust.
In light of this connection though, I've realized that instead of asking where I can trust God more, I simply ask, in what areas am I experiencing fear? The areas of our lives where we experience the most fear are the same areas that require the most trust in God.
Recently made a list of the biggest fears that I’m facing in this season of my life. I read and pray through that list everyday now, entrusting each of those things specifically to God, knowing that when I invite trust into the equation, fear automatically subtracts itself out. Even though the monsters may still be lurking in the closet, they have no hold over me.
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