What is your greatest fear?
When I was a kid, my answer was always heights. I have a long-standing fear of amusement park rides and would never in a million years even consider going bungee jumping.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve made little steps towards conquering these fears and can now proudly declare that I have survived a ride on a full-sized rollercoaster. I am in absolutely no rush to do it again, but I’m proud of myself nonetheless!
What I’ve realized is that as we get older we replace those somewhat superficial fears with an array of new fears and worries. When I was 23 I lost my first baby at 30 weeks pregnant and was completely blindsided by the realization that there is so much in life that we simply can’t control.
There were a few women who told me they could never go through another pregnancy after suffering a loss like the one I had. After all, how do you fight the fearful belief that everything will go wrong when that’s the only experience you’ve had?
That same question could be asked of any of us, in any number of situations.
How do we start to date someone new when our last relationship ended so badly?
How do we apply for our dream job when our last interview ended in disaster?
How do we confide in a close friend after being betrayed?
The only way to face our fears, especially legitimate fear after pain, is to realize we are not alone and that the Gospel has all the answers we are looking for.
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 4:17
It’s important that we understand where fear, all fear, comes from. This verse gives us some insight into that. When John writes that “Fear has to do with punishment”, I think he means that we know the cost of living in a broken world full of sin. We know that the “punishment” for our world of sin is pain, broken relationships, and loss of all kinds. We know that we aren’t entitled to a perfect life, and that struggle and pain is an unavoidable reality of life.
However, just because we feel helpless and often cannot change our circumstances that does not mean we are doomed to live in fear. John points us toward a solution, the ultimate arch-nemesis to our fears: perfect love.
Go back and read John’s full letter leading up to verse 17. It is a beautiful depiction of the perfect love we have available to us.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. // 1 John 4:7-8
He goes on to say:
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. // 1 John 4:9-10
God loves us. That is an indisputable fact. And the perfect love He freely gives casts out all fear. The Gospel is God’s Word and through His Word, we can find all the reassurance we need to live a life free of fear. The trick is, how do we apply his love to our lives? How do we live fearlessly knowing we are deeply loved?
To apply God’s love we need to understand it. One of my all-time favourite passages on the love of God is in Romans 8:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. // Romans 8:35, 37-39
The promise here is not that God will prevent hard things from happening to us. Instead, God’s love carries us through every hardship we will endure. His love doesn’t shelter us from pain and struggle. It transforms and strengthens us. We become conquers through His love. His love makes us more like our death-defeating Jesus, in whose love we are eternally secure.
Ladies, we need to remind ourselves of this! Weekly. Daily. Hourly.
God’s love is as powerful as it is present. The more we understand and are convinced of His love for us, the less we will have to fear.
Through love, God wages war on our fears.
During later pregnancies when I would find myself going down the mental rabbit-hole of worst-case scenarios, God’s love was there reminding me that even the baby I lost was still in His hands. When I feel the weight of responsibility of caring for my kids, God’s love reminds me that He is even more invested in the future of my kids than I am. When I’m restless in the face of uncertainty, God’s love assures me that He won’t abandon me to my confusion.
The more we understand, believe, and live by the knowledge that God loves us, the more we can rest in the peace of his protection no matter what life throws at us.
Nothing can separate us from His love.
His love casts out every fear.
Pick up your bible and immerse yourself in the Word.
Live each moment knowing you are loved beyond measure.
Watch your fears be washed away by the immeasurable love of God.
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