Shutting down the rancid noise of social media, I sat clicking my pen while mulling over the idea of ‘fear’ as a topic for my next blog. Fear is spilling out of memes and trickling down my screen at an alarming rate these days. Every place I go, every sweet soul that I see, seems to show the worn effects of enduring fear.
A barely discernible whisper spoke to my core.
I have learned to listen for these groanings from the Spirit that speaks so much awareness into my soul. They slip in, subtly, cryptically, to see if I'm paying attention.
This breath of a voice is more evident now. Bolder. What can this lingering phrase that has settled on my heart be speaking into fear?
To know, in the dictionary, is to be aware through observation, inquiry, and information. It is developing a relationship with someone through meeting and spending time with them.
These two words carried me to memories past, when I was a young adult Christian. I can look back at my ‘newbie’ self now and see the shallowness in my faith. All I knew from the bible were sweet Sunday School stories of a man swallowed by a whale, a huge boat built to save God's animals from a flood, and three wise men that brought gifts to a newborn baby.
My soul desired to know more. I read and tried to understand the bible that was so confusing to me. As a young wife and mother, I followed the expectation of what I thought a Christian should be. I went to church regularly and volunteered at my church, in the community, and at the school. I tried to live an upright life. My prayers were infrequent, mostly when I needed something. I always prided myself on being in control of my surroundings, and in my early days, it appeared I was. God would certainly be proud of me. I went along with my life feeling blessed and happily naive with my superficial friend I had in Jesus.
Things don't stay great in life all the time, though, do they? Illness, financial hardship, health issues with myself, and then with my children began to spread cracks through my perfect world. Eventually, fear found an opening in one of those cracks and slithered his way into my life. Jesus seemed more like a stranger than even an acquaintance at this point.
Inside me was brewing a deceptive and cunning stew of doubt, uncertainty, and anxiety. Add some raw chicken and throw the lid on, and I had a fear-based stew that sat simmering on the back burner. I barely noticed it was there except for the occasional waft of dread that floated in the air.
Before specialists diagnosed my 6-year-old son's rare hip disorder, I had rarely called out from the silent distresses of my heart. The Spirit I prayed to before then was unfamiliar. Distant. This new uncertainty in our lives brought fear out from the back burner and into the pressure cooker. The lid clamped down and sealed. The mounting anxiety had no outlet; no escape in sight. Fear was marinating and becoming caustic.
In this space, the high-pressured scorching of my insides, where fear was violently bubbling up, the Holy Spirit released the vent valve.
For the first time in my life I fasted while I prayed, but I had no words. I did not know the Spirit intimately enough who spoke deeply into my soul, yet here He was. Unbeknownst to me, my highly pressurized fear was silently groaning to the Lord. Slowly, delicately, He introduced Himself into the swirling, combustible stew. Finally, releasing the steam, I spilled my worst fears out to the Lord:
"Lord, he is just a baby! How will he come through this? Insurance is denying the recommended surgery… how can they do that?! Lord, I want to control this! I want to change it! I want to stop it!
Won't You help us, please!"
The pressure had stabilized in my being, and I felt oddly at peace. The Holy Spirit heard the deep groanings of fear in my heart, and He came to override them. He broke the seal that fear had placed around me, and He set me free.
In this moment, I got to know Him.
In this moment, He assured me He had great plans for my son. There was a future and a hope for him.
As time passed, we were made aware that the newer cutting-edge surgical option denied him would have meant a harsh recovery. Extremely harsh. It was clear to us that his fragile emotional state would not have been able to handle that. I realized God had answered our prayers with that
The Holy Spirit showed me a piece of Himself that helped me know him better. He slipped quietly into my terrified self and refreshed my soul. It was as if He said:
"It’s time you get to know me. Let's begin here."
My relationship with Him has ebbed and flowed over the years, but ever so slowly, with each new trial in my life, I have come to know Him more clearly. These days, the fears still come, but they no longer overwhelm me. They do not own me. The closer I am to knowing Christ, the lesser known is fear.
1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."
How do we become perfected in love? The Spirit whisperers: