“Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ‘Abba, Father,” He said, ‘everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.’” Mark 14:35 (NIV)
My journey with fear hasn’t been a secret to anyone who has read my blog…ever. I have dealt with fear most of my life in one form or another and I can report I only struggle from time to time now instead of daily.
While watching Son of God with my family, fear crept in once again. I watched the disciples and realized something important. God allowed them to be born at that moment in history for a purpose. Their purpose was to walk with and live beside and learn from Jesus for three years while He performed His ministry…and then to go and continue the ministry in His absence, after He ascended into Heaven. My thoughts went something like this: “What a privilege! But many of them were persecuted for their faith and died as a result. I’m happy John only had to be exiled to an island, not killed. But, wait, poor John. While all his friends were having a reunion with Jesus in Heaven, he was stuck alone on an island waiting to die.”
Around this same time, I started reading a book titled, “Face to Face with Jesus,” by Samaa Habib, Bodie Thoene. What an interesting book! I’m not done with it yet, but she talks about the persecution that happens in her country and how she isn’t afraid of dying for God.
I again started to feel badly about myself. Why was I so afraid – what was wrong with me? Then I remembered the verse above and even Jesus didn’t welcome the pain associated with dying on the cross. He pleaded with God to take away the responsibility from Him if possible…however, if that was what God desired, He would do it. So while my fear may not be something to be proud of, I’m not the only person who has experienced fear of persecution.
I love how God meets each of us where we are. I came to a few conclusions from our sermon series, the movie, and the book, and this is what they are. First of all, I was born during this period of history for a reason. I don’t know what the reason is but as much as I wished to have born in the Little House on the Prairie era, God chose me to be born now…and I am going to be faithful to complete the purpose that He chose for my life, willingly. Second, if/when I’m called to take a stand…even if it means getting hurt, God is right there, ready to step in. He has proven that in big and little ways in my life and therefore, even though my default button is fear, I can still choose to do what is right. I can step out in faith because God is right here, helping me every time. I may not enjoy the circumstances I’m called into, but they won’t last forever. And, lastly, my purpose in life continues to be to share God’s love with others. Those of you who knew me before, I’m not suddenly different from the girl/woman you always knew. I’m still me and I still do life as I always have. I just have a better understanding of why I’m sharing God’s love with you. I won’t start lecturing or bribing or manipulating. I’ll just continue to lovingly show you how important God is to me and why…inviting you to experience His love for yourself if you choose.
That is how God’s love motivates me. Without Jesus’ strength, I would still be the child scared of God punishing me or wanting to hide so no one would hurt me. But, the deeper our relationship grows, the more I understand His motivation behind what He does and the more I want to share that with those I love…and even those I don’t know yet.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014