I would close my eyes and they would be there.
I would sense the evil, the immense darkness around and with it would come a paralyzing fear.
I would try to shout the name I knew saved - Jesus - but my shouts seemed muffled.
In the morning, when my eyes opened, light from the sun would greet my eyes.
I would look around and see that they were gone.
So I came to believe they only came out at night, that they were only a reality when I shut my eyes. I would go to bed with the light on –
I had faith that the light would protect me.
Unfortunately, where I lived, the light didn’t always stay on - electricity was not consistent enough to be taken for granted.
So there were many times that I would go to bed in the dark, knowing that shutting my eyes could either make things worse or slightly better. Either way, I felt stuck and continued to feel this way for many years.
At night, going to bed was a struggle and slowly, the fear crept into the day as well. I always had to be with someone because when I was alone, I felt the fear the most. It kept me from doing so many things; from growing the way I think I should have.
Like 1 John 4: 18 says, “…fear hath torment”.
Someone called it “morbid fear” and probably thought I would eventually grow out of it – all children did. However, for a terribly long time, I stayed in the cage I myself had helped create by believing that there was always something waiting to attack me.
As I grew older, it bothered me that I didn’t grow out of this fear.
Sometimes, it took me ages to fall asleep even though I was tired because most times, when my eyes were open, I felt safer. I prayed and cried about it but nothing seemed to change. I knew many Bible verses that talked about God being with me and not allowing any harm to come to me but none ever seemed to really work.
When I seriously rededicated my life to God, every thing in my life improved noticeably, every thing but the fear I felt.
At a point, I almost believed the lie that this fear was my “thorn in the flesh”, as Paul put it in 2 Corinthians 12:7, that would not go away.
Thank God I knew better than to believe God would keep me in fear to show me His grace was sufficient. Why would He want me fearful when so many times in the Bible He says to “Fear not”?
So I continued to wait for the day I would be free of this torment but that day never seemed to come. I wish I had known, really known, that
Jesus had already set me free!
I meditated more on the passages that talked about God’s continual presence with me. And as they went deeper into my spirit and I really began to believe them, the fear gradually subsided. Still, there were times I would feel overwhelming fear and would cry because at those times, the Bible verses didn’t seem to work.
Through it all, God held my hand.
In Psalm 139, David says,
7 Where could I go from Your Spirit? Or where could I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea
10Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.
He brought me to a place where I began to learn about His love.
I began to see Him as my Father.
I thought of my earthly father and how he did everything in his power to make sure I was comfortable and safe. Then I thought of God, my Father, the Father to my father. If my earthly father would do everything to keep me safe, then how much more would God? It boiled down to really knowing that God’s love for me was real and that if He had promised to keep me, He would.
1 John 4:18 - 19 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us”.
God loved us first with a perfect love and when we come to know Him, our love for Him develops and grows unto perfection. As we walk with Him and he shows Himself, time and time again, to be faithful, we trust Him more. As our love for Him becomes perfect, fear is kicked out because we know that
He who has called us, is faithful to keep us.
So when fear threatens to come, the Holy Spirit faithfully whispers, “I am with you”. I nod knowingly and shut my eyes because God’s Word says, “…for so he giveth his beloved sleep”.
I am the beloved of God and have overcome fear with the Blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. Thank you Father!