Some people can’t understand why God allows us to go through terrible ordeals. Rest assured there is a good reason for everything. It is said that Shepherds of old would take drastic measures to ensure the ultimate safety of their sheep–especially those who insisted on straying away from the flock into dangerous territory. Many sheep got lost, maimed or killed because they strayed away from the safety of their caretaker. Hobbling an animal required breaking it’s leg so that it would not run off. It was carried on the Sheppard’s shoulders and nurtured until it had fully recovered. By this time the animal had become dependent on the shepherd for its survival, and it never strayed again. I guess this holds true for us as well. Sometimes God has to hobble us to save us.
Some circumstances have the ability to shatter our lives into pieces and stop us in our tracks. As frightening as it may be to suddenly realize how powerless we really are without God’s help, this realization is the defining moment in our lives. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that ‘fear of the Lord’ (awe-struck reverence) is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of God results in good judgement.
Six years ago was the defining moment for our son. He was a Radiographer and had worked hard to get the training needed to reach this goal. He interned at a nearby hospital and hired upon graduation. For two years he worked his shift and never turned down extra work. He had just purchased a tract of land and a small trailer that he planned to live in while building a home. Blessed with perfect health, an advancing career, increasing finances, a flourishing relationship, he was confident of his future. The next day, out of nowhere and without warning, the course of his life changed.
On his way back from work, a young man came around a curve at about 80 miles an hour and lost control of his car. His Cougar was hit head on with such force that the engine of the other car shot out of the hood, landing 100 feet into a field. The impact crushed his car like an accordion, shoved his legs into his chest and pinned him in. Jaws of Life pried him out and airlifted to a trauma hospital. That night he underwent the first of three surgeries. The operating surgeon said his leg injury was one of the worst he’d ever seen. Thankfully, he had no internal damage or head trauma; but it took three years for him to get full use of his legs. It took even longer for him to get in a car again. How many of you know that loss of control can shake our confidence and cause us to doubt?
Fear, which had never been an issue for him before, snuck in that fateful day. And it grew as he struggled to recover. His self-esteem wavered as the months turned into years and doubt manifested in the ‘What If Syndrome’.“What if the dizziness and heart palpitations are the result of an undetected injury from the accident?“What if this is a problem caused by the drugs I had been taking?” Eventually every ache and pain had its accompanying ‘What if?’ He dreaded doctor visits, fearing the discovery of a hidden problem.
Thoughts that continually run wild with all the worst-case scenarios are very often self-fulfilling prophecies. Scripture tells us that what we fear will come against us. So anytime that tormenting thoughts tried to invade our minds we reminded ourselves that“all things work out for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”We learned that what the devil means for harm God will turn around for good. Fear is one of the devil’s greatest weapons. It paralyzes us into inactivity and clouds our minds so that we can’t even pray. He plants thoughts of discouragement, hopelessness and doubt; then makes every effort to keep us isolated from people who can remind us of God’s goodness and faithfulness.
Panic should never be a Christians first response when life’s storms toss us about. God promised to always be in our boat. Nothing can take us out before our time is up. There is no power or principality in the heavens or on earth that can stop the plan that God sets in motion. No person can. No accident can. No sickness or circumstance can keep us from what God has destined for us. Our son survived a horrific accident because he isn’t done yet.
Fear is based on perception. Some perceptions are rational. Perceiving danger where there is none is irrational. Author Neil Anderson has stated that for a fear object to be valid it must possess two attributes. 1) It must be imminent (close at hand; present). 2) It must be potent (powerful). Scripture tells us that Christians are not to fear death, man or Satan. These are not legitimate fear objects since one of the necessary attributes is missing. Everyone who believes in Christ is promised eternal life. So even though death is imminent (close at hand), it has lost its power over us (not potent). Men have no real power over us. Luke 12:5 says“Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell.”Satan has no power over us. Even though“your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, he has been defeated.”(1John 3:8)
The fear of God dispels all other fears because God rules over every other object of our fear, including Satan. God is always present and God is all powerful. So, if God is with us, and is more powerful than anything in heaven or on earth, what do we have to fear? What is there to doubt? Say it with me…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!