How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said—
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
“The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”
My sister Carrie sings this song sometimes when we play at churches or other places. A week or so ago she was practicing, and I was sitting in the rocking chair with my eyes closed and let the beautiful song and lyrics fill my heart.
One of the things that struck me was how calming and assuring this song is. It's all about how God will not forsake you, even if you're going through the hard things. It never says the hard things will be taken away, just that the hard things won't overcome you.
Fear. It can be a distressing, overwhelming feeling. Or it can be a reverent awe.
It's easy to let fear over take you and consume you and paralyze you.
It's easy to let fear keep you from fulfilling dreams or taking necessary risks.
It's easy to let fear control.
I have a first hand memory of fear taking control. Paralyzing fear.
It was after I had had a stressful, fearful season. I didn't even realize quite how fearful a season it was. Then one night I became paralyzed literally with fear. I awakened one night to find that I could not move my arms or legs, that I could only breathe in short, panting breaths. Dad had to carry me to the car so we could go to the emergency room. Once there the attack had started to wear off, but they gave me some meds and told me to breathe deeply and slowly.
I'll never forget the feeling of being so fearful I was paralyzed. It was horrible.
Then it happened again.
But this time I had learned to fight fear. I was able to think through the fear and practice taking deep, calming breaths.
And now to apply it to my life in other ways. I could not let fear stand in the way of things I wanted to do or felt called to do.
One of my greatest fears growing up was the fear of communicating with others when there was a language barrier of one sort or another. As a way to face this fear and take deep, calming breaths, I signed up for a mission trip to a country where they did not speak English, and I didn't speak their language, which was Spanish.
And when I faced this fear, and walked steadily forward, I found that it wasn't so hard after all. And that Christ's love is an international language.
Facing fear can be difficult. It is certainly risky. But I am determined to not let fear be the overwhelming factor. Especially when I recall how often I have read in the Bible to not fear. When I am doing what God is calling me to do, when I am being obedient, and holy, there is no reason and no place for fear.
Instead, an animation of boldness. Because God's grace is sufficient.