To celebrate my birthday recently, my wife surprised me by taking me out for dinner and to see a hockey game. We finished dinner earlier than anticipated and had some time to kill before the game so we stopped off at Scheel’s for a bit. I’d never been in this particular store, but figured they’d have something to help keep Addy and us amused until game time.
We weren’t disappointed! There were life-size mannequins of many famous presidents all throughout the store, a coin-op gun range, lots of stuffed animals, an indoor driving range, and a NASCAR simulator. But the best part (at least for Addy and me) was a Ferris wheel that was nearly floor-to-ceiling in the middle of the 3-story tall building. Now I know Megan isn’t real fond of heights but I guess in our nearly ten years of marriage, I never pressed the issue because I didn’t realize the extent of that fear.
Before I realized just how fearful she was of this thing, I’d bought a ticket for all three of us to ride and we were standing in line. And then came the excuses, “I’m not sure if we’ll fit three in the seat,” “The sign says children must be accompanied by a ‘responsible adult,’” and so on. I probably had more fun with it than I should have. But she’s a great mom and wife and faced her fear of heights for us. After all, how could she say “No?” It was my birthday and our 4 year old was excited to ride this thing with mom and dad! Meg’s fear increased as we got seated and started moving. Her body was rigid, she wasn’t saying much, and any slight sway from the seat made matters worse.
I teased her about it but here’s the thing; if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all afraid of something. It could be anything; fear of being alone, fear of crowds, financial fears, fear of dying, fear of losing loved ones, fear of public speaking, fear of the past, fear of being hurt or taken advantage of, fear of butterflies (yeah, it’s a real thing, “Lepidoterophobia”). Those fears can really grip our lives and keep us from enjoying all it has to offer. I had no idea Megan was so afraid of heights and even though I teased her about it, I did feel a little bad for her after we stopped on top and I realized just how afraid she was. One of the things that scares most of us, at least a little bit, is the fear of the future. We’re uncertain what lies ahead of us in our lives. There’s no way to know and so we’re scared that we might not be equipped to handle what may come our way.
But the Bible says there’s an antidote to our fears. 1 John 4:18 (NIV) says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Our fears tend to tell us to try to control whatever we can around us since we feel we can’t control what we’re afraid of. But instead of trying to protect ourselves by manipulating and controlling the people and things around us, 1 John 4 reminds us that when we firstly place our hope and trust in God, His perfect love will release us from those things we fear.
The Bible says, “Don’t be afraid,” 365 times. That’s once for every day of the year! If you’ve been struggling with a particular fear lately, maybe it’s time to allow yourself to see all the ways God loves you. Make a list if you need to. Or maybe it’s time you finally opened up and really made yourself vulnerable, being totally honest with Him about every part of who you are and what you think and feel, and following through on what you know He wants for your life so that His love is what guides you instead of your fear.
Our love may be imperfect, but God’s love is perfect. And when you truly know in your mind AND your heart that the creator of the universe loves and cares for you, it has the tendency to make those fears just melt away leaving you secure in the knowledge that no matter what happens, “God’s got this!”
Be a witness,