When Fear Tries to Grip You, Remember: Grace

  We all go through seasons in our lives, sometimes it’s all summer and sunshine, but other times it is the dormancy of winter and the pain of doing chores in the bitter cold… but I don’t mean physically; I mean spiritually, emotionally. Because sometimes in our lives there really is a major storm raging outside and there is real fear that we will lose our homes, our loved ones or our own lives to that storm. 

We’ve all been there, hunkered down in the fetal position, just praying for God to calm the thunder, lightning, rain, tornado or blizzard in our lives. We want Him to say to our storm, “Peace, Be Still.” just as he did in Mark 4 when the disciples feared their boat would come apart in the storm. We want him to make it stop, that’s not too unreasonable, after all, that’s what the disciples did! Only, look at that Jesus said after the wind and rain obeyed… “Why are you so fearful, how is it that you have no faith?” 

So many times in our lives we just can’t handle the fear any longer, it over takes our very being, we can’t control it and in all honesty, we think that the fear alone might kill us, not the thing we are fearing… and guess what? We just might be right about that… Follow me on this… God is a loving Father, He WANTS to bless us, to protect us, provide for us, defend us etc… but we MUST trust in Him. When we are in fear, we are in sin because we have lost our faith in God. Now don’t go beating yourself up about actually being in fear because we have a gracious Father who understands our frailness and weaknesses. 

What Jesus wanted the disciples to do was trust that even with the storm all around them, that they would be safe, they would be protected. Trusting would have been the greater miracle, not that the wind and sea obeyed him. Trusting in their safety regardless of the storm around them is where their faith should have been. But it wasn’t, and you know what? Jesus still calmed that storm. 

You see, in reality, the easy road is “just trusting”, it’s not in panicking, rushing to God, freaking out and begging for hours, days, weeks or years for God to take our storm away. It’s not the easy road even if He does calm the storm. The easy road is knowing He protects you in the midst of the storm, and quietly seeking Him, asking Him for victory through the storm, and praising Him for that victory ahead of time.

Take a look at the verse below…

” For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
‘In repentance and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’

But ye would not.” Isaiah 30:15

Now in that particular instance, Isaiah is making a point to the people, but I want you to look at the two lines in the middle… look at these key words, “Rest”, “Quietness”, “Confidence”… in THOSE things is where our strength lies. REST. 

When you are in fear: Rest. When you worry: Rest. When you doubt: Rest. Be quiet, and be CONFIDENT that our loving Father will take care of us once we do so. Also, look at that next line, “But ye would not.” In Isaiah here, God allows the enemy to come after His people in verses 16 and 17… but then He waits…

Now, I know the following scriptures are lot but I REALLY want you to read what happens next because it speaks for itself, when we don’t rest, when we worry and mess up, yes the enemy can get to us at times but God doesn’t wholly leave us, look what He does, continuing a few verses down in Isaiah 30…

God Will Be Gracious

18 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem;
You shall weep no more.
He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you.
20 And though the Lord gives you
The bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore,
But your eyes shall see your teachers.
21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.
22 You will also defile the covering of your images of silver,
And the ornament of your molded images of gold.
You will throw them away as an unclean thing;
You will say to them, “Get away!”
23 Then He will give the rain for your seed
With which you sow the ground,
And bread of the increase of the earth;
It will be fat and plentiful.
In that day your cattle will feed
In large pastures.
24 Likewise the oxen and the young donkeys that work the ground
Will eat cured fodder,
Which has been winnowed with the shovel and fan.
25 There will be on every high mountain
And on every high hill
Rivers and streams of waters,
In the day of the great slaughter,
When the towers fall.
26 Moreover the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun,
And the light of the sun will be sevenfold,
As the light of seven days,
In the day that the Lord binds up the bruise of His people
And heals the stroke of their wound.

Am I the only one that receives an immense amount of peace from all of that!? How GRACIOUS our Father is. When we worry, doubt and fear, we have to keep in mind that this world is not our home, this world has no hold on us… not our job, our spouse, our children, friends, family or even our pets ;), nothing should be placed above Him in our lives. 

As Christians we are prepared to lose all for the sake of Christ, and when we are prepared to lose it, when it no longer has that painful hold on us at the fear of it’s loss… then that is the place in which we have confidence that we, in fact, won’t lose it. Placing anything above God in our lives is the place the devil wants us to be, because if he can get us in fear of losing it, then we give him the foothold he needs in order to take it. Rest, confidently in the Lord that when He has given something to you, it is a gift from the Father and the devil can’t take it unless we give it away by not RESTING in QUIET CONFIDENCE in the Father. 

I want to end with an excerpt from a letter my Amish-Mennonite pen pal wrote to me, her name is Tashina, she is in her early 20’s and I hope to incorporate some of her writings into future blogs…

      “I had to go over some of my jalapenos picked. Poor Santiago (her brother), he was lots more patient than I would be if I’d been trying to get something done, I need to compliment him on how he’s growing in grace. Speaking of grace…

We had a bishop ordination in our community just the other week and one of the visiting bishops had a sermon that so touched my heart. he spoke on grace, and while that’s a concept I’ve grown up with, the bishop just brought it out in such a fresh angle. I sat spellbound in church. You know, Grace is really, really amazing!!! I wish it so badly for everyone to accept the grace of God, believe in it- and let the grace of God work in our hearts. I can’t express myself without sounding totally zany, but I’m just overflowing with awe at the grace of God.

     The bishop was just like, ‘How can I explain grace? It’s so totally amazing, it’s free; it’s marvelous- and it’s sufficient!’ Titus 2:11-14 have a fresh meaning. 

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.’  Okay, I’ll quit. It’s not like I’m preaching you know, 🙂 it’s just that life is so totally beautiful when one receives grace.” 

She ended her letter with 2 Thessalonians 2:14-16 and it really sums up exactly what my thought was this morning, that we have an eternity with the Father in a glorious, heavenly home, let that put our short lives in perspective here, and allow it to take all fear from us so that we may REST in QUIET CONFIDENCE in Him, because that is where we have our STRENGTH to defeat the evil one while we are here on earth!

” Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thess 2:14-16 

“And let the BEAUTY of the Lord our God be upon us, and direct the work of our hands upon us, even direct the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17  

As always, remember that Jesus is that true light that expels all darkness!

Only By His Grace,
~ Michelle, Jeanne (jc) , Leah & Kansas Matt 

The above is a blog I wrote five years ago… I was searching for a photo and found it… What is amazing is that I found it today. You see my friend Tashina, mentioned in this post lost her father in a terrible buggy/car accident last night and her family is shattered. We are shattered; our hearts are broken for them all. If you would, please add her and her family to your prayers. Her father Scott was one of the most amazing men I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. His monthly letters to our herdshare for raw milk, fresh produce and other nutrient dense foods from their Old Order Mennonite community were a highlight for our family and countless others. He was a calm spirit with an infectious laugh and a spark about him that made you want to smile and laugh. He was incredibly knowledgeable and made it his mission to spread the gospel through teaching about healthy foods such as grass-fed dairy, meat and organic vegetables. He kept bees with his sons, who have grown to become amazingly talented and strong men themselves. His two beautiful daughters are some of the sweetest souls I know, capable Proverbs 31 women. Heaven gained an amazing man, and that absence will be keenly felt by so many. We will miss him. His life lives on in his wife, beautiful children and the wisdom he gave to so many.

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