Fear is such a horrible feeling. I struggled pretty badly with it after I was first saved. The first trial I would encounter in my walk with Christ almost drowned me in fear.
I was saved in and around September of 2010. A few months before that in June, I randomly hooked up with this guy 0ne night after the bar. Not an abnormal thing for me to do, but this time it was different. This guy was HIV positive.
I remember, in my drunkenness, him telling me that he was positive. I responded, “I don’t care..” and continued on in pursuing what my flesh wanted. Now if this isn’t a prime example of how sin can destroy us, I don’t know what is. Because of my drunkenness and lust I was putting my life in danger, and I didn’t care.
Of course the next day I was depressed. If I have ever been suicidal in my life, it was on that day. I had dinner with my friend Haylee that night, and even in the midst of my depression and self-hate I looked her in the face and I told her, “I know if I died right now I’d go to hell, but I can’t leave my lifestyle or my friends”. Blatant rebellion.
After a few days I put this occurrence out of my mind and continued on in my drunken festivities. As I look back now, I can see my drinking got worse after this hook up. I must have been subconsciously drowning out the thoughts of mortality and the possibility of being infected with a fatal disease. I do actually remember thinking things like, “I’ve got to go out and have fun and enjoy my life because if I don’t, I have nothing else to live for. This is it.”
Fast-forward a few months: Jesus saved me. I was so happy and excited and felt refreshed, but just a few weeks after I saw an AIDS commercial or something and immediately was struck with the memory of what had happened just a few months prior. Fear flooded through my body.
“What if I have it?”
“My life would be over”
“I just started really living for God and now this horrible thing is going to happen to me”
I can not explain to you the intensity of the fear that I experienced for a matter of weeks. It completely blocked out any “happy” thoughts that I had previously been experiencing about God and Jesus. I was overtaken by the idea that there was a very good chance I had this debilitating disease that would take my life.
I went to bed every night trembling in fear. I woke up in the morning immediately depressed as it never took long for the fear to creep back into my mind. I would try to make myself feel better by thinking, “If I do have it, God can heal me.” But that comfort never lasted long. As a freshly converted Christian, my eyes were still so horizontally placed on this world and the things of this world—and death literally scared the mess out of me.
I scheduled a blood test. The waiting time between the blood test and the arrival of the results was the darkest time of my life. When they called and told me they had the results, I was literally shaking as I drove down the road to retrieve the envelope that would possibly contain my death sentence. It was almost like an out of body experience, the drive over there. I don’t know if your heart has ever been saturated with that kind of fear, but it is in my opinion the darkest feeling that can be experienced in this life.
My results were negative. Praise God. I was relieved of this fear that had gripped the thoughts of my mind continuously for weeks. But just a few months later, I had another relapse of this fear. I had read things on the internet about people having a false-negative result if they test too soon after exposure. I had waited three months before I was tested, but of course in my obsessively pessimistic mindset, I was convinced that I would be the 1 out of 10,000 statistic who was falsely relieved and indeed was containing this deadly virus in my body. So I got tested, again, and it was negative. Another sigh of relief.
But you know what? I STILL have that same fear creep into my mind every once in a while. It’s illogical and statistically impossible, but my mind is still plagued by the fear of sickness and death at times. But you know what else? Jesus has shown me that fear only has a chance to manifest when our trust in Him is weak or absent.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has notbeen perfected in love.”- 1 John 4:18.
The solution to defeating fear is having a revelation of the LOVE of God in Jesus Christ, which only the Holy Spirit can deliver. I love that verse that I just posted above, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear“– Jesus dying on the Cross for me was full of perfect love. Perfect love for His Father and His perfect love for me. “For fear has to do with punishment“– as I analyze my thoughts, I see that I viewed sickness or disease as a punishment. I thought that if I were to ever have a fatal disease, then God must have removed His gaze from my life and therefore sickness had snuck in, with God being unaware of it. But this is NOT true! It’s Satan lying to me and perverting my mind with twisted thoughts about God. Romans 8:28 says that God has called me according to His purpose and is working every single situation in my life for GOOD. Not evil, not punishment, but for GOOD. Even the things we view as negative, such as sickness and suffering, are under the sovereign control of God and He uses them to brings us GOOD.
We may not be able to see how such destructive things could be for our good, but that’s where trust in our heavenly Father comes in. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”- Proverbs 3:5. God loves us more than we can possibly imagine. I know people say that all the time and it’s such a cliche, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that it is indeed the truth. God left His heavenly dwelling of perfected bliss and stepped into a dark, sin-filled world to die for our heinous treason against Him… before we were even born.Knowing that we would be grow up in the midst of the preaching of this good news and for years despise His name by continuing on in our filthy godless passions. We did nothing to deserve it. We deserve the complete opposite reaction from God! Yet He pours out His mercy on us through the death of His Son. This is enormous love He has demonstrated to us!!! How in the world could we doubt that His love is still motivating Him to work for our good?
Whatever circumstances may come our way, we must train our minds and emotions run into the loving arms of our God before we fall prey to the evil grip of fear. Fear does nothing but destroy us. Trusting in our God strengthens us in mighty and supernatural ways. When fear comes into my mind, I have to immediately crush it with the truth that I have a God who loves me and is for me and is working every single situation in my life for my good and His glory. There is no thing in this world or the next that can rise up against me and defeat me. I am in the hand of God, and nothing can pluck me from it. Fear can have no place in my heart, in my soul or in my life.
And the last part of that passage, ” and whoever fears has not been perfected in love”, we have to remember that God loves us perfectly. Not partially like the love we see so much of in this world. Our love, even for God, is broken because of our sinfulness. But His love is untouched by sin and unstained by evil. His love is perfect. Lord, perfect us in YOUR love.
Fear is nothing but a lie.
“ fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”- Isaiah 41:10