When I was a little kid, I was a crier (my mom used to lovingly refer to me as “jing-jing-ah”, which means “cry baby” in Korean). I cried on the first day of kindergarten; I cried at sleepovers; I cried at doctor’s visits; I cried standing on the pool’s high dive. I cried especially hard the night before returning to school after a long Christmas vacation.
I cried because I was afraid; often, my fears were exacerbated by my vivid (wild?) imagination. I was afraid I would never see my mom again on my first day of school; I imagined that the doctor’s needle would be exponentially more painful that it really was; I thought the change of returning to school after being at the comforts of home for two weeks was going to be too vastly different for me to adjust.
As an adult, I’ve suppressed my inner cry baby…but I am still fearful (imaginatively fearful). Even now, at my age, I have to tell myself repeatedly that there isn’t a shark in the deep end of the swimming pool to keep myself from freaking out while doing laps. I imagine worst case scenarios: with my kids, husband, driving, working, living. Fears fueled by an active imagination keep me awake at night.
We are now at 83% in our fundraising efforts to go to Japan. When I first heard the news from Damon, I was happy because of the Lord’s provision…but then, I became afraid. Afraid of the daunting task of moving to Japan. Afraid of learning a new language at my age (I can’t even speak Korean well!). Afraid of the constant, underlying tension that exists while living in a foreign country and culture. Afraid for my children. Afraid of the unfamiliar.
I thought about why I was afraid. Many lessons ran through my mind: as pilgrims on this journey this side of heaven, we should always be in the state of the unfamiliar (though we would rather settle in with our creature comforts and idols), or how the Lord has created us to be very adaptable to change, or how change and the unfamiliar make us cling to Christ alone and not our other constructed securities.
Then I did a word search on “afraid” in the gospel narratives in the Bible:
- He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. (Matthew 8:26)
- He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
- So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31)
- Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)
- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
I was reminded that I feared because of my lack of faith and trust in God. It is really quite simple: if God is with us, there is no need to be afraid. Isaiah 41:10 says,
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
When I remember that God is with me (us), there is no fear. I have to remind myself this truth constantly as fear lurks and tries to take hold (the spiritual equivalent of telling myself repeatedly, “That shark at the deep end of the pool does NOT exist!!”).
So my prayer these days is, “Lord, grant me greater faith and trust in You. Help me not to fear.” I hope the same for you – whatever fears haunt you, keep you awake at night, or gnaw away at you in the back of your mind. Have true peace, because the Lord is near.
Thanks for reading,
Fundraising update: As I mentioned, we are now at 83%! Thank you for your kind and generous support and prayers.