Growing up in east Texas on a small farm was everything you would imagine it to be. Collecting eggs from the hen house. Holding newly hatched ducklings or watching one of the mares give birth to a new colt. Feeding the cows and throwing hay bales up into the loft. Lots of memories, and most of them were good. But I remember a moment when I was around eight years of age that my dad bought me a little black Shetland pony with a white star in the center of it’s forehead. With my creative wit and mastery of the English language, the best name I apparently could come up with that stuck was, Blackie! Yep, me and Blackie.
In those early days, I was still learning to ride, and for a little kid, even a pony seemed like a big animal in comparison to my size. Our family happened to be at a large arena with a group of other people for riding lessons one Saturday, when unexpectedly, Ol’ Blackie got “spooked”, as we called it. He raised his head and took off at a run heading straight for the arena’s metal fence while I screamed for dear life! To be honest, I didn’t care what I looked like at that moment or how high the pitch of my scream might have hit, I was desperate for this animal to stop. With the reins and mane held tightly in my grip, fear had taken over my thoughts and all sense of composure was out the window. And as loud as I was, no command I gave this beast was working, and all I could see coming was a horrible outcome of pain.
Fear. Did you know that the Bible commands us 110 times to “fear not”? Sounds so easy to say that, doesn’t it? Fear not! But how many times have we become consumed by it? It comes up without warning…a thought concerning our kids health, our slightly teetering relationships, the unforeseen future of our job. The “what ifs” come flooding into our mind robbing us of peace and confidence. You see, fear is a thief.
Possibly the oldest book written in the Bible, we find a story in the book of Job (pronounced with a long O sound) about a father who was overcome by fear in regards to his kids and ultimately saw the actual manifestation of what had deeply plagued him. Recorded in Job 3:25-26 NIV he said, “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. 26 I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” As with Job, we too often have thoughts of anxiety, and words spoken in fear somehow becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In 1 John 4:18 the writer tells us that “fear has torment”. If fear is there, so is torment. Think about it…Worry is torment. Anxiety is torment, and torment is the weapon Satan uses to cause you to think that God is not going to help you this time. But in those moments do we push back or accept the fear? I heard a pastor say one time, “Fear tolerated is faith contaminated.” God is able to and willing to walk us through every situation, but it requires us to shift from a posture of fear to a confidence of faith in Him. To look into a storm and know that you walk with a God who is overwhelmingly bigger than any conflict you might face. Also knowing that He has promised in scripture to never leave you nor forsake you.
You are loved unconditionally, and that verse from 1 John actually starts by saying that, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear”. So, let the revelation of your heavenly Father’s love today silence the thoughts of defeat and doubt. You are a victorious overcomer, and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13)!