The fear grew in my gut with the pending darkness, any semblance of peace fleeing as the sun set outside my window. Something about the nighttime hours seemed to grow my fear, like the monster in my childhood closet. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t stop pacing or calm my racing heart.
Two weeks before, I’d been diagnosed with cancer for the first time. The doctors still didn’t know the full extent of its spread, nor how to best treat it. And while they struggled to find solutions, I was left in limbo.
This particular night felt worse than the others. I tried praying, reading, watching TV. Even the normal distractions of making dinner and doing dishes didn’t do a thing to settle my spirit. The fear was unbearable, all the pending unknowns about my future intruding on every thought.
Not wanting my anxiety to cause my children alarm, I snuck upstairs to the isolation of my bedroom. That’s where my husband found me, crying yet one more time, inconsolable.
He sat next to me on our bed, no doubt struggling with how to help me walk through this new reality. He’s a man of few words, but this night he looked me in the eye and said quietly and without judgment:
“If you really believe what you say you believe, Michele, it will only get better for you from here.”
I said nothing in response. What could I say? He was right, unequivocally correct. Sure, life might get more difficult, the challenges more painful. But if I really believed in a God who loved me enough to send Jesus to save me, a God who promised He is currently preparing a place for me with Him forever, a God who said this earthly life is but the faintest shadow of the glory that awaits me in His presence, then no matter what happened, the best was yet to come.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:8 (NIV)
John wrote those words, long after the Jesus he loved died, rose, and ascended to heaven. Most of his friends and fellow disciples had been martyred. And he himself had faced more hardship than you or I can imagine. Perhaps that’s why his words ring deep and true. Because he knew the only truth that can drive out fear is the unwavering, unending truth of the One True Love. Fear doubts that Love will win in the end.
Although my fear was valid, it spoke of the truth that I didn’t yet fully believe in a saving Love, a love that wouldn’t let death get the last word on my life. Thankfully, because of the truth of my husband’s words and the mercy of a God who woos me still, that night was the beginning of the end of my fear. It would never go away completely, and I still have days when the fear creeps in and threatens my peace. But it no longer holds the power it once did.
Instead, Love does. Love is the defining force of my life. Not the love of my husband and children or the love I have for them. But a bigger Love, the Love of a God who sees all, knows all, and promised to love me anyway.
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Mark 5:36 (NIV)
Perfect love drives out fear.
Don’t be afraid; just believe.
Ultimately, love — true love — believes. And that means, ultimately, it comes down to a choice. What will we love most? If we most love this life and our comfort in it, then we have every reason to be afraid. To be human is terrifying. There is so little we can control, so much we can’t predict, so much we can lose. But if what we love most is God himself, then we already have everything we most desire.
And that’s a love we cannot lose.
Don’t be afraid, sister. He loves you more than you know, and it will only get better for you from here — believe!Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Some might see suffering as a curse. For me, and as I read this, much like you, I have found that my suffering has led me to that place where I must make a choice as to Who will be the love of my life. Will it be this world, or will it be eternity with the lover of my soul? Sure there is fear, but it’s God’s perfect love that will drive out the fear when we just say, “Yes” and submit our lives to Him and begin living for an audience of One. God has an amazing love story for each of us. All we must do is believe. Absolutely beautiful post that speaks directly to my heart.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
We don’t know why things happen to God people or . Why we could say God why did you let this happen to me if it. We could start and ask other questions like. Why God did you heal this Follower of yours through treatment or directly through yourself and didn’t heal my good friend or her family member of something that was wrong with them. Or say why have you God let me have this sickness. We can let the tears run down our face. Be cross with God at the time. When we hear bad news like this. If about ourselves or good friend or family member. You say but God I lived my life for you right. I read your word the Bible said my Prayers. Live my life as follower for you. Done everything right. Why is this happening. You see another Friend get healed who is saved. You say it not fair. Why? But we will not get the answers to these questions until we leave earth. We have to keep our trust in God no matter what. Yes it hard to wait for the answers. Keep reading his word the Bible and saying our Prayers. Putting on praise music will help. Talking to a trusted friend or person in your Church or Pastor getting Prayer. Know that our Heavenly Father still loves us. Is still beside us. He we help us get through it. Put a smile on. Know that his loving arms are around us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. If we are the ones that are sick or friends or the family members. They that do get healed God will give us the strength to go tell the stories. Of how we got our healing. Should God have done it through himself directly. Or he used the Doctors and treatment. We can be a witness to the unsaved world. Not be afraid to tell our stories of how God healed us. I when 7 my appendix burst and if I not got to theater in time I not be alive today. God used a Doctor to call to visit my parents that day they burst to phone the Hospital that day. Say get theatre ready. I was that ill. I was sent right away to have them out. I was that bad. So I tell that story today. God knew what he was doing. Bring the Doctor that was a friend to my parents house when I was a child. He hardly ever visited my parents. But God had the Doctor visit to that day for a reason. If he not come. I not still be alive today. As it would be too late. As no time for Ambulance to come. I was carried in my mum’s arms and driven in the Doctors car to Hospital and straight to theater. So like you say Don’t Be Afraid Just Believe. I believe God has me here for a reason. Ike he has you Michele for a reason too. Love your reading today. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx
Becky Keife says
Michele, Fear is such a sneaky distraction from who we are in Christ and what He already accomplished for us on the cross. I’ve been helped in fear’s right grip before too. Your words remind me to keep remembering that I truly have all that I desire I need. Thank you, friend.
Beth Williams says
Going through trials really helps us see the light at the end of the tunnel. We see that this world & all its glamor will one day fade away to nothing. After going through geriatric psych with my dad twice my faith & trust muscles were grown immensely. This world no longer holds an allure to me. I am ready to go to Heaven & be with Jesus forever. No more fear-I have faith over any & all fears. God is my savior & He will see me through anything.