“This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
Within context, the Lord is commanding Joshua, and the people of Israel to be courageous. Not because there was nothing that would normally cause fear or discouragement for someone facing such opposition, but because GOD WAS WITH THEM, they had nothing to fear. That’s the key. God was with them. God already knew the outcome and he wasn’t going to abandon them. He had it.
When God is with us, we have nothing to fear.
There will be circumstances in this world, every single day where we could have good reason to fear. Good reason to be afraid, anxious, worried. And yet, God’s word says, we have nothing to fear but God himself.
“I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear the One who, after you have been killed, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” – Luke 12:4-7
With all the damage and potential for harm, injustice and pain, God’s answer is, “do not be afraid, you are with more than many sparrows.” We are his kids. Now this is in the context of the disciples going out and preaching the gospel, Jesus warns them that they will be flogged, thrown in jail and some even martyred, however I believe it applies to us as believers. We have God with us, of whom or what do we have to be afraid?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
Self-discipline. For me, I think fear can be a drug. It’s not even a nice one. The irony is I literally hate real drugs because they can make my body feel out of my control. And yet fear is a drug in itself that can cause us to loose our grip of control. It distorts reality, and then starts everything spinning so much that then what is true and what is a lie are no longer distinguishable. And it takes discipline and prayer to not give into it.
Once I felt God say to me, “do not take counsel from fear.”
I say all this because I feel like recently the Lord has spoken to me regarding my fears. I am planning on getting lasik eye surgery towards the end of next week for my birthday. The outcome sounds fantastic, and I really believe it will be. When I prayed about it, I felt like the Lord showed me that I’d say, “I wish I would have done this sooner.” So that’s a good end in my book. The thing is… I haven’t gotten it yet. Screeeeech!!!!
To get the surgery I have to have lazers shoot at my eyeballs while a vacuum holds them in place. There are a lot of people who are not bothered by this in a bit, however when I think through having to take the drugs to numb my eyes, (something that is not my favorite feeling) and then not pass out from the loss of control over my body (which I’ve done in the past!) it freaks me out a little bit! My eyeballs!!! The smell of burning flesh!!!
So naturally, I talked to the Lord about it.
He gave me an awesome word picture. He showed me two different pictures.
In the first one, I’m waiting in a dark, cave-like hallway set up to be a fun waiting zone, like a cave or hallway at Disneyland. It’s a bit dark, but has lights and is completely safe and a little boring.
The other picture is of a fun house, but it’s not really fun. Mirrors are warped, tons of neon colors, music that is way too loud, stuff spinning, florescent lights, it reminds me of a cheap fair ride. Inside, it is difficult to get anywhere and very disruptive and the fun is more for the maker and less the patron, almost to mock those who enter. As though the creator could watch and laugh at those who enter. And yet, outside, it’s a cool night, still, quiet and calm. That is reality.
I feel like the fun house word picture is fear. It seems like fun, but inside everything is warped and disorienting. Outside, reality, is calm, cool and still. Reality doesn’t change because you step into a fun house, but stay long enough and it will begin to mess with your mind. It doesn’t make any of it true. Outside remains a perfect calm night.
The darkness in both word pictures may represent that there will be instances where we wont see all the details, and yet there is no danger in it because God can see all of it.
The first word picture is safe. And it’s designed with the purpose of making it fun for the patron. Every detail was thought of (just like in Disneyland) and it was safe. For the record, I REALLY like Disneyland, and I’m always impressed how even the tunnels and waiting areas are set up for the amusement of the patrons, they take every effort and energy and pour it into the finished product all for the amusement of the patron.
And that’s the difference. In the one instance, the joke is on the patron and the maker gets to enjoy the foolishness and make fun of the one inside the “fun house” and it’s not really fun for those who enter. In the other, the maker goes over every single detail, with the patron in mind, all for the patron’s pleasure. The maker does all the work, just so we can enjoy it, and even if it’s just a waiting area for a fun ride, the details are all there, everything thought of in advance. He did all the work for us to just enjoy it.
Isn’t that how God is? He even has the details of the waiting set up to be perfect for us. And that’s God’s grace. He cares more about us than himself. Jesus died for our sins, so we might enjoy life everlasting. He gave of himself, for us.
The Lord spoke to me a few times just today about the upcoming lazer eye surgery. Because it’s been keeping me up at night. This morning, I was going through old photos and I found this one. It’s of my dad holding Ellie because Davin was acting like a sleeping monster, and she was legitimately scared. The older two were having so much fun with the “sleeping monster”, however Ellie really did become afraid. So my dad held her. He didn’t stop the game, he picked her up and held her.
When I saw the picture, the Lord prompted my heart reminding me that he holds me in this way. That he loves me with that same compassion and that he’d hold me while having lazers shoot at my eyeballs. That I didn’t have to be in control, but just to trust him. That he would be with me. I’d have nothing to fear even though I would be in the dark about so much of it.
Tonight as I walked to my car alone, leaving my dad and Davin with the kids, I felt the Lord walk with me, arm around my shoulder, “I’ve got you.”
Later this evening, I held my youngest before bed. Just rocking her in her chair, savoring her beautiful hair, and soaking up the sweet cuddle moments. I felt the Spirit remind me, “I love you just as you love her. I made you, I adore you, I’ve got you.”
I say all this not because I am special or that lazer eye surgery is terrifically terrifying – it’s not. I say this to tell you, God CARES, SOOOO much even when we are afraid of stupid things. He feels the same way about you.
But we have to believe him. We have to walk in that truth and reality, otherwise things can get distorted. We have to have the self-control to not let our mind go to a fun house.
In all reality, when I’m not psyched out, I’m actually excited for lazers to shoot at my eyeballs and make my vision clear for the rest of my life. That’s going to be SO crazy to wake up and be able to see in the morning. I’ve never known that. I can snorkel and swim without having to worry about loosing a contact, or travel without having to bring extra glasses and solution. That’s the Disneyland ride I’m waiting for in the hallway word picture. But I have to go through the somewhat boring hallway (the surgery) to get to the fun part.
God loves me so much, that even when I am unable to calm myself down, when I am so afraid I can hardly think straight, when I feel like I might pass out in fear – God cares enough to wrap his arms around me and ease my fears. My silly fears. All in SUCH love. He doesn’t mock me or tell me to get over it, or even minimize the concerns, he simply reminds me of who he is and who I am to him.
You’re his kid that he loves, and that just like with Joshua and the Israelites, “ God is with you wherever you go”.
You have nothing to fear.