Jesus understands. He overcame His fear by confessing and submitting the feelings to His Father and deciding that His only desire was to fulfil the plan God had for Him and to trust God for the rest.
From Fear to Trust
Recently in the blogs, we have had lots of different insights into what the Lord has been saying to his people. The wonder is everyone has been different, everyone unique and everyone very relevant both to the person who wrote it and, by the revelation of the Spirit, very relevant to the church. I hope you don’t mind but I would like to pass on what the Lord has recently been speaking to me about, in the hope it also blesses someone else.
I was having my quiet time with the Lord this morning and currently I`m reading through the book of Mark. Mark is not one of the Gospels I read a lot because it feels often a bit factual for me, I prefer John because he unlocks a lot of the character of Jesus and gives insights into Jesus personality and love that we don’t often get from the other gospels. So I was amazed when I read the account of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane just before he was arrested.
(Mark 14:32-34 NLT) They went to the Olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said “sit here while I go and pray” He took Peter, James and John with him and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me”.
The Passion Version puts it like this: He told them “sit here while I pray a while” He took Peter, James and John with him. An intense feeling of great horror plunged his soul into deep sorrow and agony. My heart is overwhelmed with anguish and crushed with grief. It feels as though I`m dying. Stay here and keep watch with me.
It struck me that here we have all the evidence we ever needed that Jesus really does know how we feel and how to come alongside those who may be experiencing all kinds of feelings, anxiety, fear and pain. The Lord made me very aware of that recently, but I did not have a scripture to confirm what the Lord was showing me until today. But could I start by going back to when I was much younger
For many years one of my favourite verses of the Bible has been 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind I've quoted it in the King James Version because that was the version of the Bible I read when I was 18, during the time I had a nervous breakdown. It meant so much to me then, because it mentions that God does not give us the spirit of fear (and I was feeling very fearful) but he gives us love, power and a sound mind. When your having a breakdown the one thing you don’t think you have is a sound mind, because that is the battlefield and that is what feels unstable, so for the Lord to say I had a sound mind because of his spirit in me was revolutionary. As for the fear; I embraced that, because the Lord does not give us the spirit of fear then that was from the enemy and I could overcome it in Jesus name. Which I did but it took me 2 years of daily trusting the Lord for his grace. I was feeling fearful and at times I found that fear overwhelming and extremely debilitating. However, praise God I eventually by His power came through and the blessing was I was able to understand others who were going through similar times.
Fast forward to the year 2000 and something else happened in my life that again gave the spirit of fear opportunity to take hold, this time I battled with the crippling feelings of fear for 12 months, by now I had children and couldn’t just crumble and take to my bed so to speak I had to continue looking after them, being Mommy, being a Worship leaders wife, being active in church and school settings while being crippled inside by a horrible sense of fear of everything. I knew the scriptures and lived on the promises every day knowing that God could deliver me, and of course he did bless Him, but it lasted a year this time. However, I now realised that I could not keep falling foul of fear, the debilitating fear that robs you of all joy and often the ability to sleep, act normally and look after those around you and function in the world.
So I started to push the fear away. Every time I had any bad news I would take the news in but bury the fear. This may sound like a good strategy but eventually you end up not allowing yourself to think or feel anything too much, especially not fear. You just carry on burying the fear because you are fearful of the effect fear has on you. And no one knows, except God because He knows everything.
The Lord chose a recent incident to finally get me to face this. Something happened that put me back into that awful place where I was fearful, guilty and feeling all the destructive feelings anxiety can bring that overwhelm you sometimes. I was crying out to the Lord and looking at all the feelings stacking up and experiencing that drowning feeling fear brings, when early on Sunday morning during my quiet time the Lord dealt with it.
He turned me to a daily reading book I have and asked me to read it. This was the reading for the day:
''Bring Me all your feelings, even the ones you wish you didn`t have. Fear and anxiety still plague you. Blazing missiles of fear fly at you day and night, these attacks from the evil one come at you relentlessly. Use your shield of faith to extinguish those flaming arrows. Affirm your trust in me regardless of how you feel. If you persist your feeling will eventually fall in line with your faith.''
But even as this was blessing me the killer line came next,
“Do not hide from your fear or pretend it isn`t there. Anxiety that you hide in the recesses of you heart will give birth to `fear of fear`; a monstrous mutation. Bring your anxieties out into the Light of My presence where we can deal with them together.
I know it will not be significant to lots of people but for me it was as if God was standing in the room and talking directly to me. We then spent sometime talking over how I was feeling and I started to practice not being afraid to feel the feelings and to feel fear, but instead handing them over to Him and bringing them into the light of His goodness and grace.
I knew it was something so real to me that it changed everything. But it was from a little book and I had no scriptural reference etc.
Then this morning I read those verses from Mark, and realised that Jesus knew all about being overwhelmed by feelings''My heart is overwhelmed with anguish and crushed with grief it feels as though I`m dying.'' Jesus understands. He overcame His fear by confessing and submitting the feelings to His Father and deciding that His only desire was to fulfil the plan God had for Him and to trust God for the rest. Jesus knows and understands the journey from fear to trust.
So when we are going through similar things and try to deal with them on our own, cover them up, or pretend they are not happening, instead of drowning under the experience of it all Jesus says you can come to Me because I`ve been there and I know the way through this and the way out of it, the way that brings true freedom.
The writer to the Hebrews says in Hebrews 4:14 (NLT) `So then since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses for he faced all the same testing’s we do yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most`
God is amazing, his plan and purpose for us is to perfect us (to bring us to maturity) we can`t attain maturity if we hide things away and duck issues in our lives. During this time of lock down I think a lot of us have had to face issues and circumstances we have never had to face before, often in various places of isolation, either from family, from pastors, from church family but none of us has had to face them without the Lord. I think He is teaching us to be reliant on Him for all our spiritual needs and growth and to stop hiding our fears etc. He wants us to be completely reliant on Him because only then when all else is removed our reliance on Him can never be taken from us. Remember He has travelled the path of being overwhelmed but because of His relationship with the Father He was never overwhelmed, we can trust Him to see us through because He has walked the path and knows the way.
Author: Jan Pearson
May God bless and enrich your life
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