By Mary Southerland─
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4, NIV).
Friend to Friend
For much of my life, I have battled fear. After surrendering my life to Christ, I assumed that I would no longer have to deal with fear. I soon realized that was not the case. I was confused. If God’s presence drives out fear, I must be doing something wrong.
The story is told of a little girl who developed the bad habit of lying. When her birthday came, she received a Saint Bernard puppy but told all of her friends she’d been given a lion. When her mother heard this story, she was not happy. “I told you not to lie. Honesty is very important. Now go upstairs and tell God you’re sorry. Promise Him you’ll never lie again.” The little girl slowly climbed the stairs to her room, said her prayers, and then came back down to play. Her mother was waiting. “Well, did you tell God you’re sorry?” she asked. “Yes, I did,” her daughter quickly responded. “And God said that sometimes He thinks it hard to tell a Saint Bernard from a lion, too.”
Oh, how I can relate to this little girl’s tactic. I am a master at rationalization. But there is one truth in this story that we shouldn’t miss. We must learn to face fear in total honesty instead of pretending it is something it is not. Trying to bury fear in some dark corner of our soul is pointless. Fear loves darkness. But when we drag it into the light of God’s truth, fear shrivels and dies.
I began to study the Word and soon realized that the presence of God always exposes fear and lets us see it for what it really is – powerless. The only power fear can have in my life is the power I allow it to have. I asked God to lead me to the truths that would teach me how to overcome fear. It didn’t take me long to land right in the middle of Psalm 23 where God reminded me that I am a sheep and He is my Shepherd.
Always in search of sweeter, greener grass, sheep tend to wander off into rocks and get into places from which they cannot escape. They will even jump down 10 or 12 feet, only to discover that they can’t jump back up again.
What do they do? Bleat like crazy – and the Shepherd comes running – right? Nope!
When the shepherd hears his sheep, he waits until the sheep is so weak from bleating that it can’t stand. He then ties a rope around the exhausted sheep and pulls it to safety. When asked why he waits so long before rescuing the sheep, the shepherd replied, “I have to wait until the sheep has no energy left because sheep are foolish. In an attempt to escape, they would run over the edge of the rocks and be killed.”
Oh, I am definitely a sheep. How about you? We often try everything and everyone else before going to God as a last resort instead of the first place we should turn to when we are afraid. When we reach the end of ourselves, choose to face fear head on, and are willing to trust God completely, He will rescue us.
Father, I want to thank You for Your goodness to me this past year. I confess that there were times when I allowed fear to overwhelm me and overpower my faith. Please help me begin this New Year with my eyes on You and my glance on the circumstances. Teach me how to walk through my fear. Right now, Father, I surrender to You and the plan You have for me in 2017.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Take time to review the past year and consider the following questions:
More from the Girlfriends
Can you believe that the clean slate of 2017 is here? A new beginning and a fresh start! However, what did we learn in 2016 that will make a difference in the weeks and months ahead? I pray that your heart and mind will look ahead to all that this year holds. Guard your heart and mind against darkness. Stand firm in God’s power and presence. He is faithful and He is sufficient for whatever tomorrow brings.