“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear
has to do with punishment.”
1 John 4:18
As the years went by and my prayers for the specific circumstances of my trial seemed to go unanswered, I felt more and more confused. Why would God leave me here? Doesn’t He care?
As I was working on cleaning out my house last month, God was cleaning out my heart.
I’ve searched my heart these last eight years and have seen more than I wanted. There are things hidden in the attics of our hearts that only God knows are there. And sometimes He’ll take your hand and lead you up those ominous steps into the darkened, creaky room and uncover a pile of dusty old attitudes, some worthless misunderstandings and some poisonous character flaws that He wants to throw out.
He wants to heal us.
As I cried out to God again, He took me up those stairs and uncovered a root cause of a lot of my issues: fear.
Now I knew I had fear, but in that moment God began to connect some dots in my mind. He reminded me that perfect love drives out fear. I knew that, too. So what was I missing?
I went to my concordance and looked up those words. Perfect means complete, mature. When we receive God’s love and it matures in our hearts, there is no room or need for fear.
God knew the fear in my heart. He knew, more than I did, how much that fear ruled my thoughts, my actions and my decisions. He knew that not only did I grow up with a lack of being loved, I grew up among circumstances that instilled fear. And that fear was cemented over and over again. The combination of being unloved and filled with fear really was a form of punishment.
God wanted to fill me with the love that I lacked to drive out the fear and heal my heart. And as long as I was holding onto Him--talking to Him, getting to know Him by reading His Word--and allow Him to love me, that fear would be driven far away.
God had never left me. On the contrary, God was in the trenches of spiritual warfare with me. God loved me, perfectly and unconditionally, and He wanted me to be filled with love, not fear.
Your issue may not be fear. It may be something different. The circumstances don’t matter much.
Be strong and courageous.
It’s when we’re in a trial that we’re keenly aware of our need for Him. We reach out, we pray, we learn more about Who He is than we otherwise would have. We open our hearts and let Him fill us more and more with His love. And His love matures in our hearts.
And that’s when healing begins.
Let God love you even more than you think you’re worthy to be. Take your eyes off your circumstances. They’re only a vehicle for God’s grace and healing in your life.
Trust Him. Trust Him to know what He’s doing in the middle of your trial.
Trust Him to see what’s up in your dark and dreary attic. Because hidden beneath the piles of junk that God wants for us to throw away are treasures of godliness that lead to a rich and full life in Him.