August 28, 2018
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18 (NIV)
I stood in the front yard waiting for the yelling to stop before I went back inside. Dad had been drinking again, and Mom was screaming at the top of her lungs.
Why couldn't he see how afraid I was? Why did he drink? Why did Mom yell? Why did they fight? After 17 years of these volcanic outbursts, you'd think I'd be used to it. But they always took me by surprise.
The day after one of their fights came with many tears and promises. "I'll never do it again," Dad said. "I am so sorry."
But there was always a next time. I learned I couldn't trust him.
Unfortunately, when I became a Christian, I had a difficult time trusting my heavenly Father as well.
Once we grasp the truth of God's amazing love for us, we come to the next question: Can I trust Him? Can I trust God with my hopes and fears, days and years? When we understand the depth of His love, the answer is always "yes." Perfect love drives away all fear, kicks it out the door, and gives it the boot (found in today's key verse, 1 John 4:18). I love how the Amplified, Classic translation expounds on 1 John 4:18:
"There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection]" (AMPC).
When I became a Christian, I could relate to the rejected Jesus and easily accept the indescribable gift He gave. I marveled at God's love. But trusting my heavenly Father with my hopes and dreams? That was a different story. For the longest time, when conflicts arose, I became that teenage girl looking in the crowd for a daddy who wasn't there. Could I trust this heavenly Father? I wasn't so sure.
But one day, God spoke to my heart in a poignant way. Take your earthly father's face off of Mine, He seemed to say. I am not like your earthly father. I am your heavenly Father. You can trust Me.
Here's what I learned about God:
He is always good.
He always tells the truth.
He wants what's best for me.
I can trust Him.
It's easy to trust God when life is good. But when a child rebels, the bank account dwindles, or the biopsy says the tumor is malignant, we wonder: Is God really good?
We know in our heads He is good, but the heart struggles to believe. The enemy of this world peddles the lie that God is not good - that He's holding out on us. That's the same lie he told Eve in the garden of Eden: God is holding out on you. You can't trust Him. You will not die if you ignore His direction.
Then disappointment hits, and the devil says, "Told you so."
Life is filled with disappointments. And during those times of disappointment, the enemy sows seeds of distrust with thoughts of mistrust. Disappointment and discouragement become the breeding ground for Satan's lies to take root.
During the years I struggled with infertility, the enemy continually taunted me with lies. God doesn't love you, he whispered. If He loved you He would give you a child. You can't trust Him with your heart. You can't trust Him with your deepest longings.
When we lost our second child from a miscarriage, the enemy pestered me again: How could God let this happen? How could He break your heart like this? How could a loving God allow such pain?
Have you ever felt that way? I think most of us have heard those lies at one time or another. But the truth is, if God says no in one area of our lives, it's because He has a greater yes in another.
Can you imagine how the disciples felt as the stone rolled in front of Jesus' tomb? How could this happen? Where is God? But three days later when Jesus rose from the grave, they knew the answer: God had a greater plan.
No matter what you're going through today, know this: God has a great plan for you, and you can trust Him.
Lord, I may not understand Your ways, but I trust that You are good, and what You do is good. Help me trust You more. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 18:30, "As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him." (NIV)
Psalm 119:68, "You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees." (NIV)
Do you ever feel you're stuck between fear and faith? If so, let go of everything holding you hostage to a mediocre faith, move forward with God's promises and live the adventurous faith of bold believing. If you're ready to experience mountain-moving faith, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold by Sharon Jaynes is the book to get you there. Learn how to move from knowing the truth to actually living it out.
Click here to download a free printable of 9 power verses to help you Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold! Check out other freebies under Living Life Resources on Sharon's website.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Where do you need to trust God more? Leave a comment, and Sharon will randomly choose one to send a free copy of Take Hold of the Faith You Long For.
© 2018 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105