Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Do Not Be Afraid!

I have been pondering lately how timid we have all become.

I don't say this about others, being judgmental and finger pointing. I mean ALL of us. We have become so wuss-ified and fearful that we are unable to stand up for.... just about anything.

We all have our own goals and causes that we spend our energy and thoughts on. And in the course of one of my own, homebirth, I came across the most eye opening quote. It was printed on a simple rubber bracelet and was made for mothers about to give birth to their child naturally in their own home with or without a midwife present.

"I am not afraid... I was born to do this." - Joan of Arc.


Having given birth I can testify, "Yes, it was frightening." And this quote would be inspiring and helpful in the moments that I am pushing for all I'm worth to birth a child into this world.

But is this the sum of our fears and the test of our courage today?

Joan of Arc did not say these words about giving birth, something which women were specifically created with an innate ability to do. Having poured through the bible for reassurance in my own decision to birth at home with only my husband to assist me, I read verse after verse, "She bore a son and...." the story continued without a hiccup. Even Mary's birth of Jesus, while travelling far from home, and having no place to stay, except where the animals bedded down, went smoothly and was but a moment when looking at the entire story. (Rachel's birth of Benjamin was the only birth in the bible which did not go well. By reading her entire story, we learn that she trusted in the Astoreth, fertility goddess, and not in YHWH fully.)

"I am not afraid... I was born to do this."

Joan of Arc said these words in regards to standing up and battling an army of men who were bent on her and her peoples' destruction and subjugation. Joan of Arc said these words facing insurmountable odds and eventually leading to her public execution by burning at the stake.

And in OUR lifetime too, we have serious things that are frightening. Pirates and plunderers, earthquakes and fires, sickness and death.

The things I fear are sometimes nameless, the unknown, change in any form, tragedies unseen. But sometimes they are nameable. With tears and sobbing, prayers and pleading, they can be named.

We can lose our homes. We can lose our health. We can lose our jobs, our income, our security.
We can lose our friends.
We can lose our husbands, our wives.
We can lose our mother and our father.
We can lose our children.

We have no idea what the future holds.

What do we do when facing seemingly insurmountable odds and inconsolable loss?

Some cower in fear and lead timid, fear filled, superstitious lives. As Ecclesiastes says, those who have no hope in the future, simply focus on "Eat, Drink and Be Merry, for tomorrow we die." They party, they do drugs, they regularly drink to excess, they cavort with others carelessly and tell themselves their is nothing more to look forward to and this is the only joy that can be gleaned in this life.

Some create a fake bubble of happiness around themselves and refuse to face the objects that they fear. They have eyes, but do not see, because they simply don't want to. They try to put up the image of perfection, picture perfect home, picture perfect marriage, picture perfect award winning children, picture perfect attire and social standing. Inside their hearts are broken and being crushed by the weight of fear that is not faced or answered.

And some, look at it square in the eyes, and remain standing. They wake every morning and make a conscious choice, To do right even when it is hard. They cannot focus on what others think of them, because that deters their strength and energy. They cannot worry about who is offended, because that undermines their resolve and mission. They cannot lay down and give up, because the moment you do, you have lost.

Some days, I can see all three characters in me. Some days, when I am exhausted and weary in my heart... I am timid. Some days, I fall under that same hopeless ruination... and walk a fake walk, not knowing what else to do. And yes, some days, when I am well rested or RILED! I am fearless.

I wish I was fearless all the time.

So today, I resolve to build an altar that will remind me of this. I resolve to focus on those things which build strength in me. I resolve to put the cross before me always and fear far behind.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” - Romans 8:15

DO NOT BE AFRAID! These words are repeated to us AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN in the word of God. - Genesis 15:1, Genesis 43:23, Genesis 50:19, Genesis 50:21, Exodus 14:13, Deuteronomy 1:29, Deuteronomy 7:18, Deuteronomy 18:22, Deuteronomy 20:1, Deuteronomy 20:3, Joshua 8:1, Joshua 10:25, Joshua 11:6, 2 Samuel 13:28, 2 Kings 1:15, 2 Kings 19:6, 2 Kings 25:24, 2 Chronicles 20:15, 2 Chronicles 32:7, Nehemiah 4:14, Job 5:21, Job 5:22, Psalm 3:6, Psalm 49:16, Psalm 91:5, Psalm 112:7, Psalm 112:8, Proverbs 3:24, Proverbs 3:25, Isaiah 8:12, Isaiah 10:24, Isaiah 12:2, Isaiah 31:4, Isaiah 37:6, Isaiah 40:9, Isaiah 44:8, Isaiah 51:7, Jeremiah 1:8, Jeremiah 10:5, Jeremiah 30:10, Jeremiah 42:11, Jeremiah 46:27, Ezekiel 2:6, Ezekiel 3:9, Joel 2:22, Matthew 1:20, Matthew 14:27, Matthew 17:7, Matthew 28:5, Matthew 28:10, Mark 5:36, Mark 6:50, Luke 1:13, Luke 1:30, Luke 2:10, Luke 5:10, Luke 8:50, Luke 12:4, John 6:20, Acts 18:9, Acts 27:24, 1 Peter 3:14, Revelation 1:17

Here is one of my favorites...
Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

And another...
Psalm 56:11
In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

We are told to NOT BE AFRAID! Fear robs us of strength and energy. It weakens us, when we are already too weak. What can we do to avoid this self defeating cycle?

Jesus told us to FEAR only ONE!
“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! - Luke 12:4-5

And here is a song that reminds me WHERE strength can found!


I go to the Rock of my Salvation
Go to the Stone that the builders rejected
Run to the mountain and the mountain
Stands by me
The earth all around me is sinking sand
On Christ the solid Rock I stand
when I need a shelter, when I need a friend
I go to the Rock.


I remember not long ago, my son was plagued by bad dreams. He was fearful of sleeping, and he was fearful of the dark. I told him again and again that such things could not harm him. And, as always, I turned to the bible. It seems like I so often go there after trying everything I can think of and being left in utter desperation. BUT it also is the end of my search every time.

I found Psalm 91.

Psalm 91
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler,
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

I love the images that come to mind. I come to it again and again now.

Reside in the Lord.
Do not FEAR what you see and cannot see.
Set your LOVE on the Lord, and HE WILL DELIVER.

Such promises. Such clear hopeful direction.

I read this to my son, and those nightmares have gone away. I praise the Lord for it. I will now read this to ME. And perhaps I will remember...

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. - Psalm 4:8


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And if you were curious folk and wanted to know more about Joan of Arc.

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2 comments:

  1. WOW!!! this was unbelievable amazing!! it has blessed me indeed!
    thank you very much!!! GOd bless you!
    we will not be afraid!!
    We will conquer with power, love and a sound mind!

    ReplyDelete

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