This weekend marks the arrival of a very special day in my life. For my readers who live in the United States, this weekend is a long weekend, however Memorial Day is not this extra special day. In two days, I will be turning one year older, and this isn’t just one year, but it is a milestone birthday that increases number in the decade’s column too.
Because of this focus on time moving forward, I switched this weekend’s newsletter from its original topic, which we will look at next week, and instead let’s take a few minutes and talk about a deadly emotion that can kill our progress. In life, and especially around birthdays as significant as ones that tick over the decade’s column on our life odometer, there is a tendency to feel fear about life, and perhaps even fear about death. There are plenty of things we could be scared about when getting older, like our dreams dying inside, or our lives being that much closer to being over, but having a spirit of fear in our lives will do nothing but hold us back.
What is Fear and why is it so scary?
Fear can only be really understood when compared with God’s solution, which is “trust”. Another way of understanding fear and trust is by comparing it to the idea of light and darkness. Where there is light (we could also say where there is trust), darkness (and fear) disappears. While trust says that things will be OK when we’re through with this situation, fear challenges us to second guess ourselves and the second guessing will erode the trust we have.
There are two other related solutions to fear that we can fall upon, however both of them lead us to or through the idea of trust. The first alternate solution is through confidence or courageousness. We can blaze through our fear because defeating our fears is challenging and we intellectually understand that fear is bad and it should be conquered. However, there will come a point where we must move past this courageous spirit (not giving it up, but instead building a foundation for it) because we will come up against emotional and spiritual challenges that are harder to quantify and harder to manage than a courageous spirit by itself can manage.
The second alternate solution to fear is “Perfect Love”. We can read in 1 John 4:18 that, “Perfect love casts out fear,” and we can believe this. Perfect love in this context is pointing to God’s “Perfect Love” shown within our lives that leads us to lean completely trusting on God and not on ourselves. We can see trust either standing side-by-side with God’s “Perfect Love”, or as a test that shows whether we truly love like God loves us.
The Only Foundation We Can Trust
When we talk about trust, we can compare it with the action of leaning against something. I could lean against, or stand on a chair, and that would be an example of me trusting that the chair can hold my weight. In life there are a lot of things that we might place our weight on and trust, and if we honestly think about it, we go through life exercising a lot of trust. We trust every time we drive our cars that people will obey the lines on the roads, and stop at red lights and stop signs. This is a physical example of trust.
Less quantifiable are the emotional and spiritual levels of trust. On these levels, we might place people who we look up to, but reality and our past experience will objectively confirm that the closer we get to others, the more we realize they are not perfect, that they have a bad track record with trust, and that we are on shaky ground if we choose to trust them.
The only solid foundation for our trust is in God. Trusting God leads us to trusting His promises. When we want to know what God has promised, we must turn to no other place than to the Bible, and we must trust that God kept His message safe throughout the ages, because a lack of trust in His Word, is really a lack of faith/trust in His power and love for us.
To conclude this newsletter, we must grant trust where trust is due. In our relationships, trust is given slowly and sequentially over time. With God, it very well could be the same way, however we can look to what God has already done for us to get a benchmark of what He already thinks of us. “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8). God knows that we cannot possibly imagine the amount of love that He has for us, but that doesn’t stop Him from demonstrating the most selfless love that we can grasp.
Because He loved us first, and because He chose to die for us, He has already demonstrated Himself as trustworthy. In my own life, as I am getting ready to turn my odometer over, I don’t have to fear the future, because I know God is already there, and with Him leading, guiding, and walking with me, there is really nothing to fear.
P.S. What aspects of trust and fear do you struggle with? Join the conversation below.