I grew up in a place that generated a lot of fear - Southern California. Now that may seem like a crazy statement, after all, it's the land where everything is perfect right? Perfect weather, perfect looking people, perfect everything. But that is the surface. Underneath is where the fear lies. So many people living in close proximity to each other, strangers really, because you don't know your neighbors very well, and some of the ones you know just might have the police after them. (True story of police helicopters circling a house three doors down.) There was Charles Manson and his followers and the Hillside Strangler, gang activity, riots and looting.
Fear didn't keep me housebound, though it was always an undercurrent. We kids still rode our bikes to the playground at our elementary school two blocks away, without adults, and I walked to my friends' house two blocks down, two over and across the tracks by myself, though I didn't like doing that. I'd have much rather had a ride. I'd never let my kids do that today.
Fear can be insidious, keeping you a prisoner while you think you are free. It followed me into my adulthood, never obvious, but always under the surface.
As I grew in my understanding of God, I began to understand that He has a lot to say about fear. Jesus tells us "Do not fear," in Matthew 10:31. The Word tells us "Fear not for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God." (Isaiah 41:10) "Do not fear for I am with you," (Genesis 26:24).
The scriptures also tell us to have courage "Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
I began to recognize that I needed to walk by faith, and trust what God was telling me, rather than walk by fear. When I had trouble going to sleep at night, when Tim was working an overnight shift, God showed me this verse. Psalm 4:8 - "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."
I took hold of this, figuring that if David could do this - both lie down in peace and sleep - though Saul and his army were chasing after him for three years, then I could do the same.
The last few years have been full of fearsome things, beheadings, terrors, things that didn't seem a part of our 'world', but now they are. This can bring on a whole new level of fear.
The girls and I have just finished a series of books called The River of Time series. There are five books - Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, Bourne and Tributary (two novellas), and Deluge. In this series, two sisters time travel to medieval Tuscany and find themselves in many battles. They must deal with needing to be protected at all times, and the fear of the Plague which they know will be coming. These sisters, Gabriella and Evangelia are struck by how used to death, the people of the 14th century are, and how they embrace life. One of the men in the story talks about how, today they are alive and that they should fully enjoy it and rejoice in it.
That really struck me. Today we are here, we are alive, and so we ought to rejoice in it and enjoy it to the fullest. To not live in the fear of what may come (Matthew 6:34).
God has given us today, to rejoice in, not to fear. He promises to be with us where ever we may go, so I should and will walk in joy and not in fear. Today, no matter what comes my way, He will never leave me nor forsake me.
I can leave it all in His hands, and accept from Him what He chooses to bring my way.
No fear, only peace. No fear, only joy. No fear, only hope.