If you remember, I have posted before about my battles with fear. As a child, the first verse my parents had me memorize was Psalm 34:7: "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them." Ha! Even then!!
My struggle to overcome fear really came to the forefront last summer - 2011. I was dealing with health issues while in the mountains in Colorado. I was dealing with some demonic oppression as I walked with a friend through some specific situations. (Some of the scariest times I can ever remember.) I struggled to be away from my children and trust God to care for them. The list went on and on... and my need for control (my very own sinful idol) was showing its ugly head in outright terror when I was out of control. I came across Psalm 73:16 one day - allow me to take it out of context: "when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God:"
Graciously God was faithful as I struggled. He is always gracious and good and glorious and great. I came to a point where my fear was debilitating... God simply said: "Do you trust me?" To which I had to answer yes. Then came, "Do you trust me RIGHT NOW?" Which, I had to say yes to again. So then the outcome was, "Stop worrying, then, and actually TRUST ME." As Steve said, I was dying a thousand different deaths by playing out a zillion possible outcomes to my fears. God was asking me to set that aside and trust Him - not with tomorrow or next week but RIGHT NOW. Do I trust that He loves me? Yes. Do I trust that He loves my children and my husband more than I ever will? Yes. Do I trust that He is in control? Yes. Do I trust that He can protect my friend from anything - seen or unseen? Yes. Was I acting like it? No. I began to think very in the moment. I can trust God in this moment. Psalm 34:4 says "I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears."
God has proven to be true to His word... not that my life is free of troubles or that it is perfect. But, graciously God has taught my heart to trust Him - to HOPE IN HIM. Not anything I have done on my own - but something He has done in me - in my heart.
I have spent the whole year - from summer to summer struggling through what it looks like to trust God. I spent a whole year reading in the book of Psalms. Yes, you heard me... one whole year there - not studying anywhere else. I was being washed in the Word. I love that idea - being washed, made clean, renewed... not in my own strength or in my own might... but in His Word!! Verses like Psalm 130:5-7: "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning... hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption."
Psalm 40:1, "I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined to me and heard my cry... Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust..."
Psalm 31:14,15 "But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hand..."
Psalm 33:20-22 "Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you."
I could give you a dozen specific ways that God called my heart back to Him. He would literally drown out my fears with words to songs or verses. He would send that encouraging friend at just the right time. The beauty of it is this - it was HIS work, not mine. He changed my heart, not me. And I am grateful. And He would love to change yours as well.