Tag Archive: fear


Tangled

Perhaps I should be bashful about having watched two movies in two consecutive nights.

But I’m not.

The background to this is that I’ve been coughing my lungs up (with great elegance, I might add) (…? who am I?), and so I’ve been bedridden for the last day and a half. Consequently, I’ve been reading, knitting, chasing thoughts whilst staring at my ceiling, and watching 30 Rock with my dear brothers (it’s rare that they’re both home).

My dear friend Claudia has given me company for much of the past 2 days, for which I am a little bit overwhelmed – thankful, grateful (there’s a semantic difference there, surely?) and feeling very blessed by her gracious love towards me. In fact, that’s something that I was talking with Blythe and Clouds today about: how being sick for the past 6 years has been something that God has used to weather down my stubborn independence from people. In that, I used to not ever want to accept help from people. I would never take days off school, I would refuse assistance and would generally try to do things by myself. Because people helping you makes you incompetent, right?

Praise be to the grace of God that He has saved me from myself, and is refining that part of my personality away. Generally being physically unable to do the same things I used to do has taken me on an uncomfortable road to accepting help, initially out of necessity. I think that necessity broke a lot of my barriers down, which may have paved the way for greater humility to accept grace from people.

But this totally wasn’t what I started this entry to write about.

TANGLED.

I’m getting tired, so this is briefly what I wanted to say. Sometimes people get angsty about Disney movies, and the way they instill unrealistic expectations about what a child’s life can be into their impressionable hearts. But, you see, I feel that there’s something in the DNA of humanity that instructs us to lift our vision to grander stories; legends, mythologies, dreamtime stories, fairytales… aren’t these a testament to the longing of the human heart to live bigger, to be a part of something greater than themselves and their present circumstances? Definitely, I think that there is a place for skepticism, in that we don’t want to have our heads so up in the clouds about what could be in a different reality that we spend our real lives gazing longingly into the horizon, and never actually do anything with the time given to us. BUT cynicism, that reactive disposition of the heart that fears the pain of those dreams never being realised, is crippling and destructive.

See, I think that we WERE made to live bigger, bolder and riskier lives. Lives of faith, lives that see us stepping out in heavy dependance that our God is in control and will come through for us. I think our hearts were wired with the grand narrative of eternity set in them, this deep pulse that knows that our lives, our selves, were made to participate in the greatest story ever told. That we are valued and treasured. No, I don’t think that the happily ever afters are ours on this side of Jesus’ return; no, I don’t think that this longing for a fairytale life is helpful or healthy if it leads you to put off living your life, perennially waiting for something magnificent to occur.

But living boldly, loving recklessly, and living a life of risky faith – living OBEDIENTLY to a wildly passionate and steadfastly loving God? Doesn’t that sound like a life worth writing a story about? Or, rather: doesn’t that sound like a life that is a penstroke in the greatest story ever told?

I certainly think so.

 

From 4/7/10. It’s funny how forgetful we are.

Distrust is a stubborn root to weed out of a heart. I think it’s nurtured by wariness of people and the ways they can hurt us; also by a reluctance to ever be in situations of vulnerability. It’s the negative extreme of guarding your heart, in that it is preemptive and suspicious to the point of cynicism.

And cynicism cripples hope and limits possibility.

The other thing about distrust is that it constrains the heart to fear, and disallows stepping out in faith. If you’re constantly over-analysing every interaction with a person, or every situation you’re in, and safe-guarding yourself against any possible infliction of embarrassment or wounded pride, then you immediately shrink your life down to what is safe and predictable.

Horrible!

But on a deeper level, and one more fundamental to the human experience, is our distrust of God.

Uncertain situations tend to breed a few responses: fear, distrust, excitement, faith. I’m sure there are more.

But I was just reading an article called, ‘Can You Bear Uncertainty?’ by Jon Bloom and I thought it was particularly insightful. Maybe you’ll agree…

He was looking at the story of Jesus’ reply to the confident assertion of the eager would-be follower of Jesus that they would follow Him wherever He went, in Luke 9:

So when an adoring fan announced his desire to follow him anywhere, Jesus deglamorized things a bit by replying, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:58).

Bloom continues from here with some thoughts which I think I agree with:

God doesn’t tell us how that person responded because what’s important is the implied question: can you bear uncertainty? Can you bear not knowing how God is going to provide for your most urgent needs and still trust that he will?

It is a question that Jesus wants all of his disciples to wrestle with. There are simply going to be times when we don’t know where the provision is going to come from. Circumstances will look precarious, sometimes foreboding and threatening. Plans are going to fall through. People are going to disappoint us. They may reject or misunderstand our mission. If these things happened to Jesus, we should not be surprised when they happen to us. And we are not to become angry when they do. Note that Jesus rebuked James and John for their response (Luke 9:55).

Jesus does not want us to be governed by fear at such times. He wants us governed by faith. The reason is that the uncertainty is only apparent uncertainty. Our future and our provision and our ultimate triumph are certain to God. He has all the foreknowledge, power, resources, and desire to turn everything for good for those who love him and are called by him (Romans 8:28).

Apparently uncertain seasons are usually the most powerful God moments we experience. They often put God on display more than other seasons, demonstrating that God exists and rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

So if you are in one of those seasons, take heart. You are likely experiencing what it means to have a God “who acts for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).

I feel the pain of uncertainty. It would almost be more tolerable just to KNOW, unequivocally, whether life will go one way or the other. Even if it means staying sick forever, it removes the tantalising semi-hope, in which you half-wonder about what might be, rather than dwelling fully in the provision so graciously given in the present moment. Uncertainty can make us off-balance.

The thing is, I feel that uncertainty actually blesses us, because it shows up our spiritual health in a way that we could probably mask otherwise.

It shows up the presence of any distrust still lingering in our hearts. If times are uncertain, and we don’t trust God, then it’s as obvious as a fake tan.

Uncertainty forces us to deal with distrust. It forces us to wait on God, to lean heavily on Him in faith.

What a blessing it is!

It reminds me of Andrew Murray’s thoughts:

Even in the regenerate man there is no power of goodness in himself: he has and can have nothing that he does not each moment receive; and waiting on God is just as indispensable, and must be just as continuous and unbroken, as the breathing that maintains his natural life.

How I wish that I would wait so heavily on God that with each breath I would acknowledge my dependence on Him. Uncertainty, in its principle preoccupation with what is to come, would lose its hold on my heart, because with waiting on God, communing with Him with each passing breath, my focus would no longer be on trying to control the future – it would shift to dwelling in the present with the One who holds all things in His hands.

It is, then, because Christians do not know their relation to God of absolute poverty and helplessness, that they have no sense of the need of absolute and unceasing dependence, or the unspeakable blessedness of continual waiting on God. But when once a believer begins to see it, and consent to it, that he by the Holy Spirit must each moment receive what God each moment works, waiting on God becomes his brightest hope and joy. As he apprehends how God, as God, as Infinite Love, delights to impart His own nature to His child as fully as He can, how God is not weary of each moment keeping charge of his life and strength, he wonders that he ever thought otherwise of God than as a God to be waited on all the day. God unceasingly giving and working; His child unceasingly waiting and receiving: this is the blessed life.

“Truly my soul waiteth upon God; from Him cometh my salvation.” First we wait on God for salvation. Then we learn that salvation is only to bring us to God, and teach us to wait on Him. Then we find what is better still, that waiting on God is itself the highest salvation. It is the ascribing to Him the glory of being All; it is the experiencing that He is All to us.

May God teach us the blessedness of waiting on Him.

Ascribing Him the glory of being ALL to us. All. Not holding back an ounce of self-control. Rather than dealing with uncertainty by hoarding control and shrinking life down to the confines of fear-driven security, waiting on God and leaning on Him in faith lays that burden down at the feet of the most trust-worthy Person, who holds all things together.

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1.17

What security there is in laying down all things before the One who holds all things together. What a person to wait on!

Romans 11
33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34″Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35″Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

“My soul, wait thou only upon God!”