It’s Sunday service, and I’m almost in a ball on the ground in tears.
Let’s back up a little bit. This weekend we went to a church conference that happens every four years, so it was a big deal to go. It’s tricky to go with two littles for sure. (Maybe a blog post for another time?) But it was worth the trip.
My first experience at the conference was Saturday afternoon for classes. (I took the morning and my hubby took the afternoon for taking care of the kiddos so we could each get undistracted learning time.) The afternoon classes – great.
Then Saturday night came. And they packed it in – good news and announcements and evangelist and women’s ministry appointments. Plus a lesson packed with amazing stories of people who went out on faith and saw God work.
Instead of elation, I left feeling overwhelmed. Feeling small and unimportant. You know those moments when the lies are just piling up? If you were important, you’d be up there. Or you’d be a victory story shared. What you’re doing isn’t important, and it’s not much of a success.
Which brings us to Sunday. I get up and pray, and sit in stillness for a while, just listening to God. I leave feeling more positive, but still unaware of what will happen next.
And then, a miracle.
God speaks to every single one of my fears and insecurities in that church service.
Someone shares Luke 5, when the fishermen worked hard all night and didn’t catch a thing until Jesus appeared on the scene. And I remember that it isn’t me and my effort, but God who orchestrates the victories.
A video comes on about how our church is serving those in need. And I remember all the times I’ve had the chance to give, and how I’m part of this great big thing happening for people to receive help, even if they aren’t pronouncing my name or showing my face.
Zacchaeus’ story is the heart of the sermon, which serves as a reminder that no matter where we come from, no matter how messy our past, when Jesus arrives on the scene and chooses us, that changes everything. That makes us so valuable.
Finally, the song “Reckless Love” is sung by the congregation, which almost makes me completely lose it. It’s a song about how God wholly pursues us, recklessly, with abandon. He does absolutely anything and everything to get to our hearts. I’ve never sung that song with a congregation, and the experience is so emotional for me. At this very moment, I almost feel as if all the singers and the stage and the people around me are taken away, and it’s just me and God.
God answers our fears.
There are more days when the lies are the loudest. It’s like my headphones are in and the volume is too high. I’m listening to a playlist of praise songs – and then a loud, annoying commercial cuts in.
You are so insignificant! What makes you think you can make a difference?
You will never be like that person. Maybe if you work reallyreallyreallyreally hard, you can almost catch up.
Even the things you give your whole heart to end in failure. Why try?
Somehow the ads become the whole playlist.
What we can fail to realize is that God answers all of our fears with promises and quiet reassurance. He does it on his own, but it takes a few things for me to be able to be on the same wavelength so I can catch them.
First, it takes prayer. And I mean, catching God up on all the lies I was hearing (and believing). It takes laying them at his feet, not knowing what he will do with them. Some encouragement comes from 1 John 5:14-15 NIV: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”
Second, it takes stillness. That day, it took a few minutes of being still and silent before God to feel his reassurance. I’m not typically much for mediating (and I’m definitely not one to love being still). But doing this before God helped me to stop focusing on the fears and instead give that attention to him. Exodus 14:14 NIV always encourages me: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Lastly, it takes waiting in expectation. We can eagerly wait for what God has in store for us. Psalm 3:5 NIV speaks to this: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” We can be watching for how God is going to answer our prayers!
And how does he do it?
I don’t know what it will look like for you. God comes through in so many different ways, and I believe he makes them specific to our personalities and situations so that it’s what we need to see.
But here’s some ways God has answered my fears: by averting a crisis, or sometimes by allowing challenges to happen but also giving me the strength to rise up to them. It can come by the right scripture or encouragement from someone at the right time. It comes through a song on the radio or something to delight me or make me laugh. Unexpected solutions, miraculous interventions, a message or sharing that hits home. All of these are ways God answers my fears.
If you’re in a tough situation, or even just a normal one that leaves you riddled with fears, I hope you can be encouraged that God answers our fears. You can always go to him with your worries, as Matthew 11:28 NIV says: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
In what ways have you seen God intervene in your life to answer your fears?
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.