When Fear Ends

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Today I open a Bible and flipped around randomly through its pages. I just so happened to look down at where I landed and, lo and behold, I looked right at Psalm 27. Here’s what I read:

The Eternal is my light amidst my darkness
    and my rescue in times of trouble.
    So whom shall I fear?
He surrounds me with a fortress of protection.
    So nothing should cause me alarm” (Psalm 27:1)

That reminded me of something I learned a long time ago about fear.

What are you afraid of right now? What is the greatest cause of anxiety and stress for you at the moment you are reading this?

Imagine the worst-case scenario were to come true (which is highly unlikely– think 1 out of 1,000 times). Imagine that you get fired from your job, you flunk out of school, your checking account goes belly-up.

Now, picture this. Even in the midst of all that wreckage, God is still there. You can lose jobs, money, possessions, friends– even spouses– but you can never lose God, because it’s not you holding on to God, but God holding onto you.

I love the image that I heard somewhere. When you hit rock bottom, you find that God is the Rock at the bottom. And maybe that’s a good place to be, where you have nothing left to stand on but the One True Foundation of Jesus.

An old black preacher described fear as “False Evidence Appearing Real.” The future that fear shows you may look legit, but it is always a lie. That’s because fear will always show you a future without God in it.

God promised in His word that perfect Love casts out fear. Fear can’t stand in the presence of God’s unfailing love. The only way for fear to win is for you to doubt God’s love and believe that it has come to an end. Faith is the antidote to fear and it doesn’t have to be great faith in God. All you need is faith in a great God.

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Set Free VBS- Day One

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I volunteered again for Vacation Bible School at Set Free Church in downtown Nashville. It’s just as much of a leap of faith (or like the above picture, an ascension into the unknown). Inner-city ministry is decidedly out of my comfort zone, but as I’ve learned, you almost never learn anything or grow or experience fullness of joy and peace inside your comfort zone. You must always step out and take risks for those miracles to happen.

That said, I had an amazing night of seeing God at work. To the average cynic, it might seem like a futile task reaching out to inner-city children who to every appearance have no attention span whatsoever and almost no impulse control. But I don’t believe that, or else I wouldn’t have been out there, doing my small part to share the love of Christ with these kids.

IMG_0769I think that deep down all children have the same needs: someone who sees them and cares about them and loves them. They are just like adults in that they won’t care how much you know about the Bible, Jesus, theology, and doctrine until you show them how much you care about them as people and not as statistics.

I’m only one very imperfect person who’s out there trying to love on some kids. I’m not Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. But it’s not about my abilities anyhow. It’s about me making myself available to a very perfect God who can take my little bitty offering (think loaves and fishes) and multiply it to satisfy the soul-needs of a multitude. It’s not great faith in God that accomplishes wonders, but faith in a great God. Even if that faith is as small as a mustard seed.

IMG_0733So it’s about planting small seeds of faith in these kids. It’s about taking their posturing and sometimes snarky attitudes and loving them anyway and pointing them to Jesus, who loves little children more than anyone. 

Who knows? Maybe there’s a future Billy Graham or another Mother Teresa amongst these kids? Even if it’s one life that gets changed, that’s enough. As an old Jewish saying goes, if you change one person, you have changed the world. At the very least you have changed that person’s world. And for me that will be more than enough.