What causes me to fear? What am I afraid of? Where is my mind at when I fear? Of whom am I afraid?
This past year has been an experience of struggling in so many ways. The other day I was reading Eric Carles’ book, The Hungry Caterpillar to a friend’s little boy. The caterpillar is hungry and eats for a whole week a lot of different things, then he gets a stomach ache; he eats a green leaf and feels better. He spins his cocoon and sometime later struggles out, but now is a beautiful butterfly.
If a butterfly does not go through the struggle to get out of the cocoon it will go through life swollen, with shrivelled wings; unable to fulfill its purpose, which is to fly. Is it possible, God in His wisdom and understanding gives us struggles so we can become what He intended and fulfill our purpose? Maybe if there is no struggle, there is no beauty to be exposed and no completion of becoming.
Isn’t this what God does with his children? At first when we come to him we are young and not yet strong in the faith so He grows us in a cocoon where the pressures of life turn us into beautiful butterflies, so we can be all that He created us to be.
Maybe this is what has been happening in my life all along. Maybe He is preparing me for a great work that only He knows what it is and the exact timing of it to be done. Having had only little work that pays little this past year has been frustrating, I am not a lazy person but am a hard worker, yet I have come to feel that there is something holding me back. Maybe it is not me, maybe it is not fear, but maybe it is? Who am I listening to? God or people? Who do I fear, God or people’s opinions?
The pressures of life sometimes cause us to fear, but of whom or what are we afraid? Throughout my life my biggest fear has been fear of not having enough, not being provided for; I did not believe God would always provide that He is a good provided. This year has stretched me in this and caused me to see truth in a new light, its like he has wrapped me in a cocoon of his mercy and grace to show me the truth of His word about provision. His way of providing, not to depend on the world’s provision but to depend on His.
Throughout scripture God says, “Fear Not, be not afraid.”
Isaiah 54:4, “Do not fear, you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you….”(NLT)
Isaiah 35:4, Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.”(NLT)
Deuteronomy 31:6 “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”(NLT)
Yet in Deuteronomy 4:10 “Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that the may teach their children”. (NLT)
So, who are we to fear? God
Psalm 112 says, How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments. …He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is upheld, he will not fear…” (NASB)
New Living Translation states it this way, “How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands….They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.”
Fear, being afraid, can debilitate, even paralyze us, stopping us from moving forward in God. The questions we need to ask ourselves: Has fear stopped me from moving forward in God? Has fear stopped me from going where God wants me to go, doing what God wants me to do, saying what God wants me to say?
I am rethinking my decisions lately, have I followed God, or my own heart? Has fear of failure, fear of work, fear of change, stopped me from following God with my whole heart into the unknown?
“Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you, I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Although I do not yet fully understand all the Lord is teaching me, I understand more than I did last year and am fully confident in the Lord that he will continue to teach me and grow me in His way.