Sometimes, I wish God gave us a warning before hard times hit. But inevitably, life throws a storm without any notice. Recently, we’ve run into a small, financial storm of our own and, if I’m honest, there have been moments that I’ve really struggled to avoid fear. There’s a strong temptation to look at what feels “impossible.” Instead of trusting that the Lord will provide, I find myself wanting to worry. My instinct is to track every single penny and micromanage, but I am reminded that this, too, is my way of trying to compensate for a lack of control.
Control, wow. That’s a big one! In the middle of the storm, it’s easy to believe that if only we could orchestrate the outcome, things would be better. But even if I could manipulate the result, I’d still be making decisions without all the facts. My limited perspective only allows me to see what’s in my immediate vicinity. I’m unable to predict the future, only decide based on the past. Regardless of my misguided perceptions, control is a false sense of security. It may last temporarily, but inevitably would be more devastating in the end.
Christ, on the other hand, sees all and knows all. His plan, even when I can’t see it, is based on a complete knowledge of what is to come. Despite struggling with fear when the money seems to be lacking, he knows where the provisions will come from. Already, he has figured out what will result in our best and is moving to bring those into a tangible reality. But it won’t necessarily come about on my timeline or in what seems like a “timely fashion.”
In the waiting, I have a choice. Will I choose fear and will I choose faith, believing that the Lord knows best? Though unpleasant, it isn’t hard to cling to fear and all the stress that comes along with it. But if I truly trust that God knows best, will I remain stubbornly holding onto doubting that he will follow through?
Faith is believing that the Lord will provide even when things seem uncertain. It’s praising God who is for what he is orchestrating behind the curtain without know when that will come to light. Faith doesn’t fall back in fear but steps out even when life throws in the unexpected. It’s the choice to acknowledge that God is in control despite the feeling that everything is going wrong.
Fear takes on the opposite perspective. It clings to the doubt and alienates the light of Christ. It pulls our eyes downward and away from the illuminating cross. And it compels us to grasp for anything that might remotely resemble control of our situation. Fear causes us to doubt ourselves, our husbands, even God. It paralyzes us and keeps us from moving forward. Not only does it darken any hope left in our situation, it makes us very aware of the possibility of failure.
We don’t like to fail. We don’t like being knocked down to the bottom. And fear is excellent at rendering us powerless regardless of where we find ourselves. We may try to climb out of the pit, but fear says we are unable. It tells us we are too weak. It whispers, “This is too much for you to handle.” And it condemns us to this place.
So, how do we identify the presence of fear? What can we do to overcome its influence in our lives? I don’t know about you, but I don’t like living beneath its grasp. Despite the difficulty in overcoming this fleshly instinct, I desire to live believing that God is enough. Not just saying it. And in the moments when my flesh doubts, I am challenged to commit those worries to him.
Fear comes cloaked in the impossible. It presents as things we can’t predict or control. By its very nature, fear is the antithesis of everything that the Lord stands for; righteousness, hope, truth, peace, and wisdom. When I let fear be the dictator in my life, I’m saying that Christ is not enough and that this is beyond him. I’m forgetting the times he’s been faithful in my life and his long track record of never failing his children.
When staring directly at the impossible, Christ calls each of us to rise above. He is God over the impossible. Despite our doubts, his vision and resources extend far beyond what we can see. He asks us to trust him even if the outcome seems bleak. Over and over again, he’s proven himself faithful and we are to remember those times. He reminds us in Scripture that he will never leave or forsake us, but do we believe it?
Next time fear comes knocking, I encourage you to stare it in the face. Identify it for what it is and call upon the Lord to deliver you from its clutches. Don’t let fear be the deciding factor in how you handle the storm. As the Bible tells us, the Lord goes before us. Already, he is paving the way so that what seems impossible now will soon be another display of God’s mercy in your life story.