We’ve had a pretty challenging few weeks. Nothing earth shattering, but there have been some hard decisions to make and times we have found ourselves on our knees with nowhere else to turn. While I am ready for this burden to be lifted and this time to pass, I’m surprised to find myself savoring each moment as I’m drawn into a deeper understanding and reality of God’s love.

In past situations like this I would find myself paralyzed with fear. Fear of the unknown that I cannot control. I would get snippy with J.J. and drag him into my misery. I would start panicking and fixating on the smallest of things because I was trying to avoid dealing with the big beast staring right at me. I find that I am at my ugliest when I let fear control my thoughts & actions so you won’t be surprised to learn that for the past 5-6 years this verse has been constantly on my mind:

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 

1 John 4:18

I’ve wrestled through the meaning for years and finally, this week, I had that “ah-hah!” moment. I so desperately want/need to cling to this truth that I had to put it all together in a blog post. 

I started with what I know to be true and then wove that into the meaning of 1 John 4:18:

  • God loves me (John 3:16, 1 John 4:7-10… ummm the entire Bible…)
  • God is all about his glory (Isaiah 43:7, Psalm 19:1-4)
  • God’s glory is beautiful and there is no where else I want to be, nothing else I want to see (Psalm 27:4; personal experience)
  • God’s purposes are so. much. bigger. than what I can see and than what my short life can afford (1 Peter 1:24, James 4:14, Job 42:2)
  • God can take ‘bad things’ and redeem them for good (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28)

There Is No Fear In Love

If you go back and read the whole chapter, you’ll see that God is love. So when the writer says there is no fear in love, he is implying that there is no fear in God: in knowing that God is love and that he loves me, I know he will be faithful to work all things for good. He doesn’t make bad things happen (I sometimes think that God is waiting for me to mess up so he could ‘teach me a lesson,’ which isn’t true! That’s what fear wants me to believe… because “fear has to do with punishment”… But that’s another post for another day.) Instead, God takes those bad/hard/challenging things and redeems them for good – like, to remind us that nothing compares to Him, that we need nothing besides him, to teach us how beautiful His love is, to remind us how fleeting this life is and how eternal He is, to show us and to show the world His glory… all of those things! And I have no reason to fear any of that. Instead, it gives me reason for joy and celebration which is what should mark my life. 

But How?

That is some exciting stuff, to be sure, but in the middle of this difficult time, I’ve been trying to figure out how to have my life reflect that truth and not feel like I’m drowning. To do this, I was reminded of the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray: “give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11) – God gives us exactly what we need, when we need it. Not a moment too soon or too late. Think about the Israelites and the manna from heaven (Ex 16:16-21) – they could only gather what they needed for that day. Or, look at Matthew 3:33-34 where Jesus tells us to seek first God’s kingdom and then he reminds us that tomorrow will take care of itself. I think God does that so that we don’t get ahead of ourselves, forget what is priority, or forget that we are only saved by grace and not because of anything we can do right or wrong (Eph 2:8-9). I think depending on God for our “daily bread” keeps us humble and tapped into Him. I have also learned the past few weeks, that depending on God for what I need on a day-to-day basis also keeps me in that sweet-spot: so deeply rooted in His presence and focused on Him that the wind and the waves around me cannot distract me (Matthew 14:22-33).

I keep on asking God to help me see my situation with “heaven’s eyes” – meaning with a perspective for what is eternal. My hope doesn’t rest in my house, in my bank accounts, in my family or in my husband. My hope rests in God & his eternal purpose for my life. I want to be where He is, doing what He is doing. And if that means walking through hard situations looking for glimpses of His glory, love and purpose, count me in.

My prayer has been that the posture of my heart would be to choose to see all of this hard stuff as an opportunity to see more of God’s glory, more of God’s love for me and more of His miraculous provision. I want the posture of my heart to trust Him to know what is good more than I know what is good; to trust Him to know what is more important and to sovereignly hold all things together (Colossians 1:17).

Will you join me in living radically different lives? Lives that look different from the rest of the world because we find our hope, purpose and meaning not in what is comfortable but instead in what is eternal.

As a side note, I’ve had this song in my head all morning and thought I would share it. I love the line: “the waves and wind still know His name”… YES!!!!

Categories: Life

Comments (2)

  • Jon . July 14, 2016 . Reply

    Sara, thank you for writing this wonderful devotion! It speaks so powerfully to the issues that Lorry and I are facing in our familyou, and had been a real blessing to us. I can’t wait to read more. 🙂

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