There are so many things that come before me every day that can instill fear. Just watching the news opens my eyes to the fact that the world is a mess, and that there are people with ill intent everywhere, including where I live. And then there are things like rattlesnakes in Brown County (that’s not random — that was one fear I recently had to deal with), or tick bites that can give you lyme disease. What about the fact that my children live all over the United States, and that I have no input into the day-to-day decisions they make regarding their own safety and well being? Recently, someone showed me an article alerting them to the fact that lightning strikes are more prevalent in their area than in other areas, due to building heights and topography. I could go on. The fact is that every day many things come at me that can make me fearful.
But God. That is the difference between living in fear or not. God promises for those who are His that He holds us in His hand. He has enclosed us on every side, and nothing can touch us without His permission. If He lets something difficult come into our lives, we can be sure that He has a good reason, and that it is for our good, even if it doesn’t make sense to us. Even then we don’t have to resign ourselves to the pain and confusion because God promises He is always with us, so we can talk with Him about our struggles and our pain, we can seek Him for relief as we walk the hard path. He is even listening when we don’t understand and aches in heart when we plead with Him to take the pain away. Sometimes He even changes His plans.
There are many fears that I have embraced, including the snakes in Brown County while we were camping there. So I’ve been praying about that, knowing that God doesn’t want me to live in fear, but in trust. And knowing, too, that as much as I want to believe I can control outcomes, that I cannot — but that He can, and does, and that He wants me to leave it in His hands and rest from worry. So a few days ago He gave me a living illustration of this to give me assurance that I can trust Him.
It was after dark, and I was on my way home from a meeting. My route took me through a highway construction zone (it is said that in Indiana there are two seasons, winter and construction, so a route through construction is rather assumed). There were two lanes open with cement barriers on the left and barrels on the right. I was in the right lane, and the vehicle in front of me got off at the exit. That’s when I saw the big arrow pointing left. The right lane was being merged into the left. There had been no warning prior to the arrow, and the barrels were stationed to force traffic to the left immediately. With a semi next to me on my left, and heavy construction equipment beyond the barrels, I tried to stop (traveling at 60 mph) as I heard the thumps of hitting three of the barrels pushing me left and saw my front end come dangerously close to the semi. Next thing I knew, I was behind the semi with my right mirror turned in. As you can imagine, I was shaken. But I was also bewildered. How did I end up behind the semi? From what I had seen, there was too much of the big rig left to pass when I had desperately needed to get over. Then God spoke to my heart. He was in control, as He is — always. There was nothing I could do to ensure a good end to the situation I was in, but He never lost control of my life, not even for those few seconds. The sudden merging was a surprise to me, but not to Him.
That night could have had a different kind of ending. I am not saying that because God is in control things will always bring a pain-free, and sometimes miraculous kind of ending. What I am saying is that regardless of how things are, God is in control, and He is good, and He is doing everything to bring the best to me. I do not need to fear, I do not need to seek to control. God has it. I don’t know these things about God just because of what recently happened. I know them because I know what is written in the Bible. I haven’t cited any verses, but I could. I cannot make God be anything other than who He says He is, and so all that I have said about Him comes from the things I have read about Him in His Word.
Make time every day to take in some Scripture so that you can know your God. Then pray through the things you don’t understand. God will take what you know in your head about Him and bring it to become the truth that resides in your heart as He brings those truths to reality in your life. He wants us to live in trust, not fear. We can, because we have the God factor.