Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Fear not, I will help you."

I've been reading Don Miller's "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" and, of course, I love it. And of course, it's difficult. It's exactly the kind of stuff I have avoided dealing with. But that's not what I've set myself in front of this computer to write about (or is it?).

I don't have a copy of the book here with me, and as such I am unable to quote Don's words exactly. Sorry, Don. But it was basically this. Apparently, and it really doesn't surprise me at all, the most-used command in the entire Bible is "Do not fear." According to Miller, it shows up more than two hundred times.

Does anybody else think about this in terms of their own life and realize how perfect that is? Wow...God knew, didn't he? He knew just how badly I would need all that.

Fear. If the Word of God is any indication, it may be the single greatest contributor to Satan's cause. I know for a fact it has had its talons into me for a while. Deeply. It got to the point where I couldn't bring myself to give this blog the title I've used for so many other sites: Bellezza Impavida, fearless beauty. I couldn't do it. It felt like such a dirty, dirty lie.

Maybe the whole post-Eden, God/Humanity interaction set-up has left us particularly prone to it. We get separated from God, He is no longer an entity that we can physically see or (with very few exceptions) audibly hear, and even the very best of us can only know the tiniest portion of Him while we're on this earth, but He's still telling us what to do, and it so often goes against what we had planned, or what makes sense to us. Take down an entire kingdom with three hundred men, God? Really?

I'll tell you this, for sure. God made Gideon into one gutsy fella.*

God knew. He knew how important courage would be to the success of His children in their advancement of His kingdom. And He knew how vehemently the enemy would work to take that courage away.

I've recently experienced firsthand the power possessed by "you can" and "you will" that is so much greater than "you should" and "you need to." I guess, to simplify, I'm learning to appreciate the beauty of encouragement over judgment. I've had the latter in my life, or perceived that I have, for such a long time that having the former take the more predominant role is alarming and freeing and wonderful. It's like I'm starting to wake up from this forever-long, zombie-like stupor and I love it. There is still such a very long way to go, but I love it.

I think that, between one side of this coin or the other, the Bible is predominantly a "you can" sort of book. True, it comes with the emphasis that this empowerment is from God and not really through our own strength, but it ultimately tells us that, because of Him, we can do stuff. Big stuff. I might even go out on a limb here and use the term "huge." Is this not (wonderfully) crazy? That we have not been given "the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7)." There is absolutely, positively, no need to be afraid.

Perhaps, one day, I actually will learn to live this way. I have some serious fears to tackle first, but I ever so dearly wish this to happen. Don't you?

*See Judges 6-7

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