Tag Archive | fear

Fear Mixed with Joy

 

Other than on a rollercoaster ride, where else do fear and joy exist together?

Could anyone who is deathly afraid of flying be joyful and fearful in the air? What would motivate that person to strap themselves into a plane and face a barf bag? Knowing they’ll most likely use it. They might risk anything to be reunited with a loved one.

I share such yearnings.

Years ago, my husband and I traveled to Romania. I love flying and couldn’t wait to take off.

At the conference for Christian educators, we became close friends with the Romanian teachers.

I’ve kept in touch for several years with one lady. We email prayer requests and share family news. I enjoy hearing from her, but long to see her again. To be in her presence once more.

Nothing communicates better than a warm embrace. There are no language barriers when close friends look deep into each other’s eyes. Silence speaks volumes.

I’ve missed you. I’ve prayed for you. You mean so much to me. I’m honored to know you. Let me just rest in your presence.

Skype contact can’t fill the room with her sweet aroma. A picture of her can’t replace her gentle touch.

If I could afford it, I’d travel to Romania to be reunited with her again.

If I had the money to take the trip and feared flying, I’d still go. Joy would override apprehension.

In the Bible, we read about several women who went to Christ’s tomb. Grief and sadness were replaced with other emotions. Soon they were filled with fear and joy. (Matthew 28:8)

What consumed them with fear? Was it seeing the huge stone rolled away? Or seeing an angel? Or finding their Lord’s body gone?

What swelled their hearts with such elation? It was the joyous message the angel told them.

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said…”  (Matthew 28:6)

Hearing their Lord had risen filled them with delight.

Fear is a familiar feeling to us. We know what it’s like to see unexpected, upsetting, and unpredictable behaviors. It’s normal to be afraid.

Can we, like the women at Christ’s tomb experience joy amid fear? Yes! For the same reason the women were able to rejoice in spite of what they just saw and experienced. Christ is alive.

Just like those women, we seek Him. The One who will hear, help and heal. We want to know He’s there.

In Matthew 28:20 we read Christ’s own words of assurance: “… And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

That’s a promise we can cling to when all else falls apart.

He’s with us when things are unpredictable. When dreams are shattered. When sorrow overwhelms us.

All we need to do is believe. Don’t feel badly if that’s easier said than done. Even Jesus’ apostles needed this admonition to believe Christ rose from the dead:  “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”  (Luke 24:25)

Oh, what joy they experienced once they realized Christ had risen and spoke to them!

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

May you be quick to believe so your heart will burn within as Christ speaks to you. Listen to Him. Hear the words you long to hear. Rest in His presence. Fear may creep in, but joy will fill your soul.

What do you long to hear from your Lord?

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What if…

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”  (Romans 15:13).

Chris survived his first psychotic episode that hit during his junior year in high school. With the help of excellent home bound instructors, he even finished the year on time. God was faithful.

The night before his senior year, lots of what ifs filled my head.

What if marching band proves to be too stressful for Chris? What if other students say something to him about his hospitalization? What if teachers are too demanding? What if he can’t make it to the nurse’s office to get his medicine? What if his friend isn’t in any of his classes? What if no one sits next to him at lunch? What if…

‘What if’ is usually followed by someone’s greatest fear, their worst case scenario. But suppose ‘what if’ was followed by someone’s greatest hope, their best case scenario.

Calm assurances would replace doubts and fear. There would be no limit to what could follow ‘what if.’

Here’s how it would sound:

What if God filled Chris with His perfect peace? What if the Lord arranged for Chris’s friend to be in several of his classes? What if several people sat with Chris at lunch every day? What if Chris remained content and clear thinking in spite of a stressful band director or demanding classes? What if I felt God’s presence during Chris’s school days?

What if I created new habits that led to transformed thinking?

What if I woke up and cast all my care on God, instead of worrying about what my day will be like? What if I eagerly anticipated how God will help me instead of feeling unsupported?

Jesus told his disciples not to worry about what they will eat, drink, or wear. Proof of His provision surrounded them. God’s care could be seen in the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

Can you imagine a bird pacing around with her head down murmuring, “What if I don’t find any food? What if I can’t make my nest in time?”

Jesus assures us we’re more valuable to Him than any bird. There is no limit to the joy and peace we can have as we trust Him. The Holy Spirit will fill us to overflowing with hope.

What ifs can torment or comfort depending on our focus.

Oh heavenly Father, increase our faith!