“Fear is based on a lie;
deal with the lie and fear will die.”
As quick as I am to learn things (saying this sarcastically), I recently had the revelation that fear can’t exist where there is truth. Yet in this day and age, when society tells us that there are no absolutes and truth is relevant only to each individual, what is truth? How do we replace the lies of fear if we don’t know what truth is? Lately, I’ve come to realize that many people don’t take the time to search for truth; they just accept whatever comes as truth. And it’s no wonder then that the world is filled with fear. We then medicate those with strong fears, or we turn to humanistic philosophies on self love and ways to promote self. Others turn to manmade religion to find peace, or as my 6 year old has learned through TV, they just “eat their feelings.” We fill, stuff, and keep on filling and stuffing to try to find release from the lies and the fear.
Yet in all of it, we fail to realize that we’re continually bombarded by thoughts that attempt to bring fear. The media, social media, and entertainment operate in a mode that fuels fear. How many of us can truly say that we feel a lot of peace and love after watching a popular TV show? How much peace and life do you get after scrolling through Facebook? How many loving feelings do you experience after watching CNN or the BBC? (Hint: if you’re honest with yourself, the answer is none to very little.) Yet because our brains are wired to move from one thing to the next, and because we’ve lost the importance of teaching daily quiet reflection and meditation, we can’t seem to slow down the barrage of information that comes at us.
*And as a side note, practicing yoga (for meditation), focusing on happy thoughts, or trying to stay positive all the time – all of these are imitations of meditation. These are just more fillers that possibly do a better job than others, yet they pale in comparison to the true practice of daily time spent with the Holy Spirit through prayer and meditation on the Word of God. And I know this is 100% true, because of the fight it takes to make this practice a daily, consistent habit. The devil will cheer on the happy thoughts, as long as they’re not focused on the Word, but he will fight you tooth and nail when you start to desire the Word of God. And as a working, homeschooling mom + wife, I know the busy lifestyle well; I also know full well the battle of trying to get quiet time in my day. Yet the necessity of it never changes.
Over the past two years, after leaving behind my home, my country, my parents, my church and friends, and after stepping into a new ministry and a new country, I’ve felt the barrage of fear more strongly than ever. I also know many from outside of Scotland who have faced the same once moving to Scotland. The struggle against fear is real. And it’s shown me that if I’m battling it consistently then what’s happening to my neighbour who possibly knows nothing about God? How are they coping here? Is that why the drug and suicide rates are so high here? So how can I be victorious and teach my neighbour that a love, joy, peace filled life is possible?
We’re now entering our third month of my husband’s unemployment. We don’t qualify for welfare (the American word) or benefits (the British word) or unemployment due to my immigration status as my being here depends on Mark being able to provide for me. Yet he’s doing is absolute best and working his hardest to find work. So what does this mean? It means that truly God is our Provider. We’ve seen His provision over the past two months as our rent gets paid and as we buy groceries and petrol – all without going into debt. But has it been easy? No way. In fact, it’s been immensely trying. I’ve had many crisis moments over the past few months. I have had nights of asking God question after question as I try to understand what’s happening to our circumstances. And yet what I keep hearing in response is “replace the fear with truth.”
So what is the truth in our situation? Every answer and response we get from recruiters, those in the career that Mark is going into, and those in the workplace in Scotland is all negative. The pay rate is low here; the unemployment is high. Good jobs take a long time to find. The jobs are all in Glasgow (a two hour commute). In other words, the news is bad, and if we listened to them, we’d be packing our bags (yet ironically, we can’t even return to the US if we wanted to!). So what then? What do we do? We turn to Truth; the truth is that God loves us more than we can imagine; in fact, He says this:
“Perfect love casts out all fear.”
“Fear not for I am with you.”
What is perfect love? God is love. In fact, He is is the living, breathing form of ‘agape’ – the highest kind of love that comes from God alone. So love and truth must be tied together then, yes?
“When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.”
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
So I can confidently know that a.) God’s love replaces fear, and b.) I can look to both Jesus (the Word) and the Holy Spirit for all truth. Therefore, I wrote out five truths from His Word to rely on:
1.) He who called us is faithful. He didn’t call us to move back to the UK so that we’d end up broke and homeless after two years.
2.) He says that He will provide all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
3.) He says that we who seek Him will lack no good thing.
4.) He says that He will restore to us the years that the locust have eaten and that we will eat in plenty and be satisfied because He has dealt wondrously with us. (I realize this passage was spoken to Israel, but it reveals God’s heart towards His people, which we are apart of. And there are loads of other scriptures to use here; I just chose this one as it speaks to my heart.)
5.) All throughout the entire Bible, God tells us to not fear, because He is our safety, our supply, our hiding place, our help, and on and on the promises go. We’re in perfectly wonderful hands.
And I could list out several more promises, but my point is that truth and love replace fear. If I know the truth (which comes from His Word and His Spirit) and I know the perfect fullness of His love (which compares to no earthly love), then I know that He surpasses any care, any worry, or any stress. I can rest fully in Him and in His truth. We are not shaken; we’re not defeated. We’re standing on solid ground no matter how much our circumstances try to shake us.
(The photo is from the book God is Good by Bill Johnson.)