Monday’s frustrations brought me face to face with a bevy of fears, most notably the fear of a prolonged delay in making a new home in Whitehaven. Fear held me like a prison cell while my dreams drifted every so slowly into the distance, unreachable and unattainable. It is painful to be held in place while your desires seem to drift away. Tuesday brought hope in the form of two songs, one of which I shared yesterday. They reminded me that time had not stopped and God was still working. I strove to walk in those truths, singing the words over and over again.
As providence would have it, Tuesday was also my regularly scheduled time to lead in worship and preach at a local men’s shelter. What could I share in the midst of my own little crisis of faith? That question found its answer in sharing the very thing I needed to hear. I needed courage. I needed freedom from fear. I needed to know that God was with me. My search led me to the book of Hebrews, and on to both Deuteronomy and Joshua.
Hebrews 13:5-6 reads, “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?””
The context bit deeply. My fears were rooted in a fixation on money. I was trusting in the resources I could see and understand, and as I saw my own poverty of resources I was left afraid and alone. My idol abandoned me, but, as the scriptures pointed out, my God would not. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” It is an amazing promise, and I wondered just where this quoted text in Hebrews had come from.. Most commentaries seemed to be in agreement that the author of Hebrews referenced the words spoken to Joshua when he was tasked with bringing the people of Israel into the promised land. When he was faced with a seemingly insurmountable task, taking a land inhabited by many, powerful peoples, leading a stubborn and rebellious people, finishing a task his mentor, Moses, a man who met with God face to face, had not been able to complete, he was filled with fears and worries. God’s answer was simple. “I will be with you, and I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I am sure there were times Joshua availed himself of those words when things got rough. I can see him repeating them to himself as a ;mantra, reminding himself of the Lord’s favor. And in that way he made a declaration of faith, saying with the author of Hebrews and the Psalmist, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
In the face of my own fears, God reminded me that He is with me. In the face of His person and His promises, I came to a point of decision. Do I believe Him or not? It’s amazing to me how often it comes down to a question of faith. Do I trust that He is with me? Do I trust that He is big enough to handle all of my fears? And, remembering that “perfect love casts out all fear.”, does He love me?
My answers are yes, yes and yes!
Did I find freedom in faith? Yes I did, and in declaring my faith in God I found the bars of my cell were no more. My circumstances had not changed, save that I recognized God’s promise of His presence, but the freedom that provided showed the bars of my cell for what they were, fears given power because I gave them power. Illusions made solid because I believed them to be inevitable truths. Once the illusion was dispelled, I was amazed to find things far less bleak.
This story has its end in new ideas that made their way into my mind once it was free of fear. I made a quick phone call to the very same man who told me that zoning would not allow any campers or mobile homes. My question – Is there any restriction on the size of house I have to build? The answer – No. Though I don’t yet know the end of this journey, a new possibility exists because possibilities are no longer obscured by fear. Praise God!
That said, we’ll see what the future brings and pray always for courage along the way, trusting in the promise of His presence.
“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”