I know what it is to be afraid.
Yesterday’s post on hope focused on one of the positive characteristics of waiting. And today, I want to dig deeper into the fear that often comes with waiting.
Fear is an enemy I battle for a multitude of reasons. It is one of my greatest weaknesses and contributes to much of the more negative parts of my character. It supplies my desire for control, my insecurities, my anxiety, and my worry. I can find myself afraid of things close to me and things far away. Of what-ifs and maybes. Of changing and of staying the same. Fear PLAGUES me far too often.
What about you? Is fear something you battle?
Ultimately fear is about lack of control and control is all about trying to be God (this idea is not original to me; its pervasive in recovery literature and other teachings). When I’m waiting on God, fear is often the enemy that meets me over and over again.
In the past, when I was waiting for something to happen, I rode a pendulum swing back and forth, back and forth between a ferocious assurance in some cosmic “it’s all going to work out” power and then to a crippling assertion that only bad is headed my way. I trusted in only what my feelings told me at any given moment.
And when both sides of that pendulum FAILED to change my feelings, then plain panic would set in, and I’d get lost in plan A, plan B, crisis-preparation, etc.
But when God reached into my heart and turned it from stone to flesh, then suddenly that pendulum swing revealed itself to be sin. A major sin clouding my judgment and robbing my joy. Abruptly, it wasn’t okay to just fluctuate between two strong emotions or even fall headlong into frenzied, desperate controlling. No, it became vital that I learn to trust God for my well-being and my circumstances knowing that fear was ultimately a lack of trust in Him and His goodness.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.–Isaiah 41:10
Notice what that verse DOESN’T say ANYTHING about changing circumstances or taking away all the bad stuff happening to us. No, it simply says not to fear because He is our God. He WILL strengthen us and help us. He WILL uphold us.
In my heart, fear is often a reaction to the idea that God is not good and focusing on my own comfort and earthly reassurance. It is not looking to heavenly things and not earthly things. It is not seeking what matters eternally and instead desiring only temporary relief.
When I’m waiting on God, I fear He won’t do what I want Him to do.
And I’m wrong to do so. Because any outcome that has been entrusted to my God guarantees fruit that would not have grown without the waiting, the trusting, or the outcome, WHATEVER it may be.
I’d love to hear what you think about this topic. Any reactions to what it means to fear while waiting on God?