Fear is an obnoxious neighbor, his house and yard ruled by ugly chaos. Yet he complains loudly when our sons accidentally whack a ball into his overgrown weeds—as though it matters! If I decide to step up and tell him to get lost, he looks me in the eye and smirks, Make me. And I gulp as I remember that, sometimes, fear invites himself to dinner.
But Love lives not just near but in my house, and He doesn’t cower to the neighbor. Sometimes Love laughs when I report some outrageous thing that fear has said or done. Other times, Love looks at me and states matter-of-factly, That’s a lie; don’t listen to him. Then Love continues with His day. Case closed.
No matter what trouble or pain fear conjures up, Love is never surprised, never immobilized by doubt. When I am one (or both) of these things, He gently takes my hands in His own and calmly speaks short instructions, as though talking to a half-witted child: I’m here. Look at Me. Let Me hold you. Come to Me. Rest. Listen. It won’t be long now. Don’t be afraid. Trust Me. I love you.
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 ESV
You came near when I called on you;
you said, “Do not fear!”
–Lamentations 3:57 ESV
ACTION: Can you think of a time recently when fear invited himself to dinner? What lie is tempting you to fear? What hope does Love provide in the presence of fear? Which short phrase of Love resonates in your soul right now?