Sunday, March 9, 2014

Conquering Fear

I cupped my hand over my eyes to shelter them from the warm, bright sun as I listened intently to my new friend share of her battle with fear. We'd met at the pool a couple days earlier and our children splashed nearby as we talked of our commonalities in homeschooling, leading women's groups and being delivered by our great God from bondages. The lovely woman who spoke with peace and confidence had been clenched by a fear so powerful that she needed the Lord's intervention. She had discovered during her pregnancy with her twins, eleven years ago, that she had cancer of the thyroid. Doctors were able to remove it and all seemed well. A few years later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and immediately underwent a double mastectomy. Shortly after, she learned that a cousin carried a gene that caused ovarian cancer. She was tested and found she carried the same gene. Another operation would ensue to try and remove the possibility of more cancer in this young momma's body.
I closed my eyes, shook my head at all she'd grappled with over a short period of time and thought of my own dear sisters-in-law whose hearts also ached with fear at times. My new friend described how heart-wrenching it was to continually hear bad news but she went on to tell me how the Lord revealed His presence and His watchful eye in her life. She explained how her little girl adored horses and desired to own one some day. Unfortunately, my friend wasn't particularly comfortable around the huge animals. She decided she would take riding lessons with her daughter so that she wouldn't panic every time she watched her girl mount a horse. During the many walks around the riding ring, my friend's horse became agitated each time he passed a newly installed sprinkler. Of course, my friend's heart beat quickly and she was quite distressed managing her horse. She told the instructor that she was afraid of her horse's reaction and she was relieved when the teacher asked her to dismount. The instructor climbed up on that horse and marched him past that sprinkler again and again until he was at ease with the new situation and trusted his rider. His fear was conquered.
That very incident taught the fearful momma a valuable lesson about her life and her Lord. Everything she encountered had already passed through God's hands. She was like that horse who kept coming up against the same thing time and again. But just as the his rider led him up close to that object of fear, showed him it was merely a sprinkler and there was nothing to be afraid of, the Lord also demonstrated that even though my friend was marched back and forth in front of cancer, He is in control and she need not fear. Her life is in the Master's hands and cancer cannot rob her of her hope and her eternity.  
At the end of our vacation in that place, we exchanged email addresses and I hugged my new friend goodbye but I knew she didn't realize what an impact her story had on me. Later that week, we were warned of the possibility of tornadoes in the new place we were staying and I reminded myself that the Creator of the Universe had everything under control. I was flooded with peace and knew that no matter what happened, our lives are in God's hands. My son, also faced his fears as he sprung high into the air on bungee lines. Since he is afraid of heights, he mostly had his eyes closed but for some reason, he was determined not to get off that contraption until he'd not only jumped high but spun into a backwards somersault. His tiny body shook with fear and he kept saying, "Oh my soul! Oh my soul!" but before his time was up, he'd flipped himself around and met his goal. I quietly thanked God for instilling a drive in him to not allow fear to bind him. I knew that ability only came from His Creator.
What grips you with fear? Do you believe God loves you enough to take care of your situation and your whole life? He does! As you walk back and forth in front of that thing that disturbs your heart, ask Him to give you a peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)  He hasn't given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7)  He never promised life would be easy but He did promise to carry us through. It is possible in hard times to have total peace and be filled with hope!

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