I’ve struggled with a lot of fear in my life. My guess is that you have, too. Recently, I experienced a very meaningful “picture” to help deal with fear that I believe came from the Lord. I want to share it with you so that you too can use it to remember when fear calls your name.
Fear comes calling in all kinds of ways, doesn’t it? It can range from the fear of speaking in public to the fear that we might have cancer and die before our time.
Among the fears I’ve wrestled with in my lifetime are the fear of other people’s opinions, the ongoing fear for the safety of my children when they were young, fear of unknown outcomes from sickness, and an underlying fear that I’m not using my time or my life wisely.
In a former post about getting the truth into your heart, I shared about using your imagination and accessing your spirit to hear and see from the Lord. One day as I was doing that, waiting on Him to speak, I saw this little scene unfold in my spirit.
The truth that was played out in that scene is helping me so much, and I hope it will help you, too, to know what to remember when fear calls your name.
Fear As A Sinister Figure
In this scene that played in my spirit, it began with me walking up a staircase, starting from somewhere down below and climbing up to the outdoors, much like you would walk up the stairs into the city after coming out of a subway.
As I got to the stairs, I looked back to see where I had been. At the bottom of the stairs, it looked to be the doorway of a small dungeon or prison. But even more disturbing was the figure standing in the doorway.
He was dressed in a long robe that reached to the ground, totally in black. Even his head was covered in a black hood, and there was no face or features to be seen.
He was incredibly sinister as he reached out one long arm and beckoned with it for me to come back. He was whispering, and even though I couldn’t hear him, it made shivers go up my spine.
That was when I realized this evil, menacing figure was really Fear itself.
I have written before about how I learned that fear is really the opposite of hope. While hope is an expectation of good, fear is an expectation of bad. When we fear, in reality, we are expecting the worst to happen.
Fear, like that sinister figure on the stairway, calls to us to come back close. It’s a form of seduction because it whispers to us so convincingly to partner with it. It plants ideas in our minds that bad things are going to happen, and we nervously join with it, letting it lead us back into that dungeon.
Isn’t that so true? When fear grips your heart, and you give in to its call, you begin to feel like you’re a prisoner with no way to get out. You almost feel helpless in its clutches and eventually you feel hopeless as well.
Thankfully, in my vision that I saw, I had come out of that dungeon, out of the reach of Fear’s grasp, and had made it to the beautiful outdoors.
The Reality of Freedom
After seeing the forbidding image of Fear, I turned back around to see where I was stepping into as I came off the staircase. As far as I could see, in every direction, there were beautiful fields for me to roam.
Jesus was standing there, and He promised He would always be with me. This beautiful place was all for me to explore. And I never had to go back to the clutches of Fear again. Safe with Him, I didn’t have to listen to Fear’s voices or believe all the negative things it wanted to tell me.
I was free.
In the Bible, our freedom as believers is often referred to as being in a wide open space. I encourage you to read this post about what it looks like to be in God’s kingdom so you can have a better picture of what Jesus offers us in this broad expanse of freedom as His children.
Fear No Longer Has To Rule
Just recently as I was thinking about the death and burial and resurrection of Jesus, I thought of how Jesus took all our sins to the cross.
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
And then it hit me. That was not a dungeon in my vision where Fear was standing in the doorway. It was a tomb!
When Jesus took all our sins upon His body, I believe He took those sins with Him to the grave and left them there! That is why we can have new life and be totally transformed – because our sinful nature, our “old man” and all its habits and tendencies, went in the grave with Him. We no longer have to partner with it again!
This is why God encourages us over and over and over in Scripture to not be afraid. Like a parent watching a toddler learn to walk, He’s cheering us on to keep going. We can do it! We don’t need to be afraid.
Rather than fear, God invites us to hope. He calls us to have a confident expectation that He is going to bring about good, and He can be trusted with whatever concerns us.
Mind-boggling! We don’t have to let Fear or any other menacing temptations of sin pull us back into their old patterns and lifeless places. Jesus has dealt with it all. We can now live in freedom, experiencing peace and moving forward with hope.
How to Actually Do This!
Recently, I was listening online to Graham Cooke, well-known Christian author and speaker. He shared an illustration that I believe will help you and me when we hear Fear (or any other negative inclination) calling to us.
Graham said that he pictured self-control, a fruit of the Spirit, to be somewhat like a traffic cop or a crossing guard. When the bad guy like Fear comes out, self-control puts her hand up and says, “No. You may go no further. You must go back where you came from. I choose not to listen to you anymore.”
And then she turns and says, “Love, you can come right on through here. You are more than welcome to be here in this place.”
Isn’t this a beautiful picture for us to grab hold of an abstract reality? The perfect love of God is always ready to cast out fear. (1 John 4:18)
Graham Cooke even suggested that we practice doing this. Literally put your hand up like a traffic cop and tell the fear out loud to go away. It may seem awkward, but I think it may actually be speaking volumes to the powers of darkness that might be listening.
We can make a conscious choice to not listen to fear’s seductive voice. We can choose instead to be open to receiving God’s love and learning to trust Him.
And that wide open field of freedom? I think it’s really all about exploring the incredible, extravagant love and grace of God. We have a loving Father who is more than willing to take care of us and all that concerns us.
And when we know, really know, God’s deep love for us, then we can trust Him. And we can choose to live in hope.
No longer expecting the worst when fear calls your name, but living with anticipation of how God will make it all turn out for good.
Learning to hope with you,
In the comments below, share with us one fear that the Lord has helped you conquer. Or maybe you want to share a testimony of how the Lord has worked something out for good when you put your hope in Him. Thanks!