Once upon a time there was a little munchkin named Cait. She loved Barbies and nail polish, America and heaven, sunshine and flowers, boy and babies, family and friends, sparklers and birthday cake, nightgowns and puppies, Christmas and fairytales. She liked to think she was the epitome of the American girl if there ever was one.
When she was just a wee one, her momma and daddio took her to Sunday School where she heard about
a man named Jesus.
She knew He wasn’t just any ordinary fella, but He was the very Son of God. She learned that Jesus came to earth and died on a cross because He loved her. He died so that she could be set free from all her fears, all her worries, all her cares, all her concerns. After three days of being dead, He came back to life. He rose from the dead, so that all who believed in Him wouldn’t ever really die but would get to live in heaven forever in the great and glorious land for which they were originally intended -- together with their Father, unafraid, unashamed, joyous and peaceful, safe and secure, filled with love and compassion.
Little Cait so looked forward to the day she could be with Jesus. She believed He was the Messiah. She believed that He had saved her, and that He loved her unconditionally. She knew He was mighty and powerful and had authority over the heavens and the earth.
Yet as she grew up, she noticed she was often afraid.
In fact, often may have been an understatement.
She was afraid of practically erryyyyyything. She feared it all. She was afraid of the dark, elevators, spiders, getting lost, Splenda, scary movies, diabetes, cancer, car wrecks, drowning, airplane crashes, tornados, mold, french fries, ticks, medicine, slip-and-slides, germs, hair nets, cockroaches, Fox News, mice, talking to boys, guns, gangs, and everything in between.
Cait was sometimes so afraid of getting sick that she made herself sick.
She was afraid of what the other kids at school thought of her. But even more so, she was often afraid of what God thought of her. She worried that one day He might change His mind and decide he didn’t really love her. She sometimes wondered if he’d ever simply stop loving her.
She was afraid He wouldn’t really protect her because she was too gross for Jesus to really love her. She was afraid that one day the terrible, dark enemy would over take her and snatch her out of her Father’s hands. She was afraid of her thoughts and deeply afraid of rejection. She was constantly fearful that something was wrong with her, that she was unloveable, and suspicious that God couldn’t really be trusted. She feared making decisions -- particularly making the wrong decision. She was afraid that if she chose incorrectly, she would walk out of God’s will for her life and she would be removed from the house of God forever.
In her heart, she knew that God would never remove His love for her and that her fears were irrational and ridiculous and grounded in nothing but lies, but yet she was still afraid.
She lived in a constant state of anxiety -- her mind running wild with a thousand what-ifs, her stomach full of what felt like icky worms that rolled around inside her all the time, and her back full of tight knots that seemed impossible to get rid of.
She felt as though she was a slave to fear. She served fear -- not God. In her head, she knew God loved her, but in her heart, she often questioned how much and if His forever really meant forever.
Fear is a tricky thing. It deceives you into believing that you must protect yourself. It makes you think that if you’re aware of your fears, you will be safe from them. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The more we think on our fears, the more fear begins to take root in our minds and quietly starts to destroy us. It puts rolly worms in our tummies and a ton of bricks on our backs until we either vommmm or are crushed under the weight of it all.
What fear really tells us, is that we’re alone -- we’re never safe. We aren’t protected. We aren’t loved. We’re gross, ugly, worthless, and headed for destruction. We’re powerless and weak and fake. Fear says, “God cannot be trusted. He doesn’t really love you. He’s not really with you. You’re on your own. Good luck. This is war. Do your best to make it out alive."
Fear leads us into a pit of darkness, a lair of despair.
We can never live in the way we were created to live if we’re constantly afraid, for to be afraid is to believe that God is not who He says He is. And if we don’t believe who He says He is, we can't trust Him. We can't know Him as He truly is.
One day years later, little CaitCait found herself deep in the pit -- her mind felt heavy and darkened. She was embarrassed because she knew she shouldn’t be afraid, but she was. She’d finally had enough and cried out, “Lord, I’m scared. I confess that I have trouble trusting you and really believing your love. I can’t imagine a love like yours. I can’t fathom it. Jesus, I cannot continue to live as a slave to fear. I am in desperate need of a rescuer. Save me, Lord. Rescue me from the darkness of my mind. I cannot save myself. I cannot fix myself. I cannot heal myself. I cannot protect myself. I cannot sanctify myself. I need you to rescue me, to save me, to free me from my fears. Apart from you, I can do nothing. Apart from you, I am nothing. I’m a fearful, anxious puddle of a mess. But Lord, I know with confidence this is not how you created me to live. Speak to me, Lord. Heal me, o Lord, and I will be healed. Save me, o Lord, and I will be saved, for Thou art our praise.”
In the stillness and with the perfect breeze of His love, He spoke to the depths of her soul. In His gracious, loving, perfect power, He drew her out of the pit of her fears and the futility of her mind.
He gently picked her up and sat her on his lap. He quietly began to sing over her, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you...
I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be. When you walk through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, the waves they will not over take you. And when you walk through the fires, the flames will not touch you. You are mine.
My little darling, the last long months have been dark. I’ve grieved as I’ve watched you give way to your fears and believe that I’m not with you, not protecting you, not loving you. You were quick to forget that a daddy’s pride and joy is His baby girl. Love bug, I didn’t have to adopt you. But I did because I love you. I wanted you to be mine. I wanted to call you my own. I made you mine, and it is my greatest joy to call you my daughter.
Fireworks, peonies, sunshine, rainy days, puppies, they're all pictures of how much I love you!
You’ve been afraid of all these things that aren’t real, haven’t happened, and will never happen. You’ve been afraid that your sin will overtake you, but I tell you that as far as the east is from the west, so far are your sins removed from you. You’ve been afraid that the enemy will destroy you and snatch you out of my hands. Never. Never. Never. Never. Nothing in all of creation, nothing in the heavens above or the earth below will ever separate you from me.
I delight in rescuing you. I delight in protecting you. It's a JOY! It's who I am.
I am your Rescuer.
I am your Protector.
Because you are mine, because you are in Christ, you never have to be afraid. You never have to be afraid because I’m not going anywhere.
It is in my identity to protect you, little one. It is in my nature to keep you safe. Don’t you see, sweet angel, I look upon you and see Jesus. I look upon you and see the little girl whom I delight in comforting, for whom I sent my only Son to die. I see the little girl whose tears I will never tire of drying, whose enemies I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS defeat. I see my little writer, my school teacher, my sunshine, my princess, the future wife to my dearly loved son, the future mommy to my special, special babies. I see the little girl whom I will fight for until the end of time.
Take heart. Breathe deeply and rest. I love you. Trust me. Trust me with confidence. Trust me with joy. Trust me with thanksgiving and assurance, believing I am your protector. You’re never safer than when you’re in my hands. And guess what? You’re stuck with me!!!! No one can undo what I have done.
When Jesus died, He broke the chains of any and all sin and death forever.
I know you have a tendency to believe there is something wrong with you or that there will be something wrong with you. But it’s a lie. There is NOTHING wrong with you. You are a new creation, clothed in the robes of righteousness, possessing the very mind of Christ. You are in my hands. I am He. There is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back? Remember not the former things or the things of old. They’re but a memory.
Believe me with all your heart. You are FREE. Behold the old has gone and the new has come! Walk in the newness of life, my dear one. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever! So if the Son has set you free, you shall be free indeed! Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. They have been nailed to the cross and crucified there with Jesus. He rose that you might have LIFE and life abundantly.
Rejoice! Give thanks! And make music to the heavens, for though you were a slave, you’ve been set free.
You’ve been brought from death to life, from darkness to light. You’re safe and secure forever. You have the mind of Christ. You have no lack. I am responsible for you. I am your Father. You are strong in Christ. You are perfect in Christ. You are more loved than you’ll ever know. You are totally forgiven and redeemed. You have authority over Satan. You are dead to sin. You are blameless, holy, and righteous. You are radiant with light and filled with the Holy Spirit. I am the Rescuer, and I am committed to you forever. Remember, remember, remember, I’m with you always and to the very end of the age."
Lord, by your grace, we pray for faith. Help our unbelief that we may trust you implicitly forever and ever until we jump into your arms just beyond the pearly gates. Thank you that you're powerful. Thank you that you're trustworthy. Thank you that you love us. We love you and can't wait for heaven. Help us to tell others about you, that everyone may know the healing, perfect, freedom found in Christ alone.