Sunday, June 5, 2016

I Will Not Fear

    I've been quiet here for the most part for a while now. That's a combination of school, some time consuming extra-curriculars, and working on two different posts that required more study and thought than just sitting down with my Bible for a couple hours and putting something together. Tonight I wanted to address something that's been on my heart for a few days.

     I'm looking into the future, my plans, my dreams, my hopes... and I'm coming back with one major feeling: fear. No one warned me life was quite so complicated or quite so demanding. I don't mean that in the whiny "why didn't someone tell me" sense, simply in the sense that I'm caught off guard with the demands of life right now and the uncertainty of the future. As any young person looks forward (and for that matter, I have no doubt older people do too), it feels like doubts and fears on every side. Who do I marry? What do I do for work? What does God expect of me in this situation? Any one of those questions has a thousand sub-headings... will she want to marry me? Will I be a good husband? How do you know when you're ready for marriage? Is there a right or a wrong to finding God's will for my life's work? What if there is a wrong and I pick wrong? What if I feel called to the ministry but I see the immaturity in so many areas in my own life? You get the point... the fears are everywhere.

     Maybe your fears are larger: will I survive this cancer? Maybe it's seemingly smaller, I don't know. I don't think it matters. Honestly, we are bombarded by fears in this life, and at this place in my life, it's a new feeling. The uncertainty and the fear, for myself and those I care deeply about, wears me down and leaves me sitting here going, "What on earth happened in the past year that changed me so drastically?" Hint: I grew up.

     Suddenly, your fears aren't somewhere off in your future. They're in your face, staring you down when you're awake and staring you down while you lie in bed at night. For so many years, "I don't know" was a reasonable answer to those pressing questions regarding what you were doing after high school. Suddenly, that uncertainty is pressing down on you every moment. The future, your choices, and all the ways you can screw those two things up that will affect you and your future and those involved with you in the future can be choking.

     There are excellent works on finding hope in God and strength through Christ in suffering. Reading Job, listening to John Piper, and other things have been immensely encouraging the past couple weeks. But to be honest, I'm not in the mood for that level of depth tonight. I'd rather just look at two verses that just grab me and shake me in the midst of my fears.

     "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." 

     What's striking to me here isn't that Jesus provides for our peace by leaving His presence in the form of a comforter (mentioned the verse previously). Maybe I've just heard that enough that I get that now. It's that He specifically identifies His peace is very different from the haphazard security of the world. It is a very different kind of peace. It's a peace that doesn't avoid tragic situations or dangerous places or hazardous predicaments. The peace is not based in any way upon situation but upon God.

     The world's way of gaining peace is removing obstacles and difficulties. By smoothing the road, the lack of difficulty results in peace. When Jesus is providing for His follower's peace, His route is not to smooth the road for them; in fact, looking forward to the end of their lives, we can see smooth roads and lack of obstacles and difficulties is the opposite of their fate. There's was not a situational peace but a personal presence of God that transcended the situation and told them that no situation mattered if an almighty God was with them and sovereign over all things. The peace He leaves with them is not contingent upon the ease of our path but on the greatness of the glory at the end and His own presence at our side.

     "The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me; Therefore I will look with satisfaction at those who hate me."

     I like this verse a lot. Like, a whole lot. There's a defiant nature to this verse that just shouts out reckless confidence in our God that appeals to me and, at the same time, intimidates me. It doesn't say that God will make our situation rosy and make everyone like us and remove all our conflict. It says that if I align myself with God... it doesn't matter what people say or think. I live, quite literally, for an audience of One. If the One is pleased, then I have no cause to be afraid of what anyone else will think or expect.

     If we're honest, isn't a lot of our fear very man-centered? This verse I like so much because it removes the man-centered dimension of fear by declaring that when I am right with God, I can smile at the people who hate me and are yelling at me. There is no intimidation, no fear, no being bullied when we are right with God. This psalm is so clear... if God is for me, I have no reason to fear anything. Nothing that happens will pluck me from His hand or push me past the reach of His grace, and with God on my side, what people think or say does not matter.

    It means a lot to remove the aspect of fear that involves pleasing other people. Part of being right with God is being in a position of respect under our authorities, but it doesn't mean recoiling in fear lest I hurt their feelings or they dislike some part of me. It means that under Christ, I am who I am, and while I pursue holiness, there is no cause for me to be afraid.

     There is no fear! Not specifically what the verse is addressing, but "I will not fear" is a pretty broad and easily applicable statement. Do I fear what other people may think of me? Do I fear messing up or failing? Do I need to fear the future? I will not fear. Even if the future is still as uncertain as it was before, the basis of my hope is as solid as a rock. My identity and eventual future is solid in Christ Jesus, the Savior who secured my redemption, my status as His child, and my eventual home with Him. There is no fear. There is no call for fear. The uncertainties are still there, but the results are in God's hands and I can trust Him.

     I will not fear. I will follow after Jesus Christ, and I will not fear. Even if all else fails, that way I gain a far surpassing joy and pleasure. He is my audience of One, the only One whose opinion will count. And under His grace, I will not fear.


  1. Wow Taylor. And you're absolutely right, living for an audience of One is better than living for an audience of millions

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  3. This post is so timely. I have been struggling with a lot of fear, which is causing me to be stressed out. Sometimes I care too much about what other people expect of me and my future, as if it appears to them like I am wasting my life. I, myself, have begun to doubt the future, and I approach it with much fear. But, knowing that God is sovereign and loving takes a lot of stress away. I can pray, "Lord, Your will be done", and know that it will be done. He IS our audience of One. AND, He doesn't base His love off of our performance. Thank God. His burdens are easy and light. Sorry! I guess I am just rambling, but anyway, thanks for sharing.