"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."
1 John 4:18
Heard a lot of bad news lately. A friend and a family member both were told that they have cancer. Neither know the scope of the disease or what treatment will look like. Right now they are facing the unknown with the large word DEATH floating around. This is a horrible place. It doesn't seem to matter where we are in our spiritual journey, it stills seems to bring up the basic, yet profound questions. Like: where is God in this matter? Does my life and my desire matter much to God? What happens when I die? Who does God heal and will I be among those that He touches that way? Does He see me and care?
I used to go there. But as a psychologist I have listened to too many painful stories. I've learned just how capable we are of hurting each other and how many times life disappoints us. I've also learned that I don't have any easy answers. If I believe that God is sovereign and completely determines all things, then I don't like him very much because I don't understand why He lets us suffer. If I believe that He is respecting our free will and is somewhat less involved out of that respect, then I feel He should step in because we are making a pretty big mess of things. I know that both ends of the spectrum are true: God is absolutely sovereign, yet He respects our free will. I don't know how to reconcile these two diametrically opposed ends, except to believe.
In crises, I now focus on my faith. Who is God to me? Who does He say He is to me? How can I grow to trust Him more? Perfect love casts out fear. I have watched a father toss his little girl up in the air while she enjoys every second of the attention. If her father was physically weak or terribly cruel, he could hurt her by letting her fall. Instead she knows him so well that this moment isn't scary, it's fun. Her love and trust of her father leaves no room for fear.
God urges us to know Him similarly. Instead I find myself with my teeth clenched and my fingernails bit short. What more do I need to know of my Heavenly Father that make me more like the little girl and her father? I know that life isn't quite the same as the game I just described. Most of our "tosses" are gut-wrenching and painful. But I need to focus on God and not on the air around me. I need to know that no matter what happens, God still has me. My eternal life is secure in him. I am loved, known, and valued by God. Even when it doesn't seem like it, He has got me in his arms.
Teach me to trust you with my life and current circumstances. Show me where I lack faith and help me to grow there. I want to trust you like the little girl and her father. I know your love for me is so great and I long for it to diminish my fears and anxieties.