Friday, April 10, 2015

The 11th commandment

One of our daughters at age five was reciting the Ten Commandments in preparation for her Sunday School class.  She counted them down on her fingers as she recited to make sure she remembered each one.  As she neared the end of the list, she hesitated for just a moment, trying to remember these basic instructions for life.

"Thou shalt not..." she stopped for a few moments and thought.  "Thou shalt not..." and quite suddenly it came to her.  Her eyes twinkled.  "Thou shalt afraid."

Oh, sweet young one, who has so much life ahead of you, always remember that.  And me, the one who has carried cumbersome fears for far too long, I need to recite and repeat daily. 

I wrote her words down in ink on the back pages of my Bible.  Just so I would remember them.

And while "thou shalt not be afraid" is not part of the official ten commandments documented in Exodus 20, the entire Scriptures are laden with that same command and with that same encouragement.

Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and of good courage;
be not frightened,
neither be dismayed;
for the LORD your God is with you
                           wherever you go.

                 Joshua 1.9

And in the words of Fellowship Memphis pastor John Bryson:  "What would you not be afraid to do if you knew God was in it?"

When I trust God in a scary situation,
                             fear cannot stick to it.

When my backpacking husband goes off on his adventures, each and every item in his pack is absolutely necessary.  Anything more would make the pack too heavy for the trek.  As I go into my own day, into the adventures God has in store, fear is not one of those necessary items.  Fear only gets in the way.  There is no room for it, nor do I have the energy to carry that extra load.  And I find that it is not the actual scary situation that trips me up or brings me down, but fear itself.

What do I miss out on
    because fear weighed me down?

How can I trust God in this?
How differently would I view
          this "ordinary" day,
this difficult relationship,
this uphill path,
this paralyzing decision,
this scary situation,
         if I knew God was in it?

When I get to that fearful point of "I can't,"
I realize that is exactly where God wants me to be,
because He can.

God says, "Look to Me,
I've got you.
No room for fear."

Though the fig tree do not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
     I will rejoice in the LORD,
     I will joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like hinds' feet,
He makes me tread upon my high places.

                        Habakkuk 3. 17-19

Thou shalt not....
                          be afraid.


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