We talk the talk. Don’t we? We have the good scriptures memorized.
“I can do all things…”
“For God so loved the world…”
“Lord, if it is your will take this cup…”
“Our Father who art…”
“Though I walk through the valley of death….”
Sunday morning, we will be up bright and early. We will dress in our best. We will press palms and welcome each other with Christian fellowship, drink coffee, sneak a donut, repent, praise, pass the cup, break the bread, nod amen.
If the sermon is spot on and the music is just right there may be a tear shed – we vow to be different, better this week.
And we will leave filled up, and we will now feast, nap, mow lawns, clip coupons, wash one last load, and start all over Monday morning.
This is my peg word. This is how I have lived the better part of 44 years.
Afraid of death, doom, gloom, vomit, spiders, the IRS, the scale, cancer, Walmart, egg salad, and pain; these things are what haunt me.
And although I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death – I still fear much evil. Although, my Jesus has saved me time and again… I continue to be afraid. If He were here now He would certainly ask, “Are you so dull? How long must I stay with you? Really Jami? You think you will drown – I am IN THE BOAT?!?!”
This word rocks me to my core. Lately, it is all I hear.
“I am afraid of what will happen to our country…”
“I am afraid we are nearing the end of days…”
“I am afraid of getting hurt…”
This word is the perfect antonym for Christ. And yet, I use them in the same breath. “I love Jesus. I am afraid of _________.”
Still, it occurred to me that the one thing I fear most, getting hurt, doesn’t scare me like it used to.
It dawns on me, in the last two years, because of who He is, I have become quite brave. Last night as I tucked our young foster daughter into cool, clean sheets, in a pretty little room, decorated just for her, a familiar companion gripped its vice on my heart and I was afraid. As the baby greedily sucked down her bottle, little eyelashes fluttered shut and a voice whispered on the second: “Be not afraid.”
And this is who I want to be.
One who is not afraid.
Daughter of the King who never speaks the words, “I am afraid.”
I am not a sociopath, although I probably would benefit greatly from some lithium and counseling. I am not afraid to lose this child. You who say this to me, “I can’t do foster care, I am afraid I would get hurt.” I am about to hurt, my family, this child, and this child’s family hurt.
And we wish you would stop saying this. You, who sits behind me in church and chimes “It is well,” who is afraid of foster care, shaking hands, and Hilary Clinton, please stop telling me you are afraid.
Stop serving Jesus on Sunday and join me in being unafraid of everything.
It will hurt.
It might be really bad.
It will get ugly.
It will unravel.
It will weigh us down with its terror and folly.
But let us not stop that which we are called to out of something as simple as fear. The oldest trick in the book, the newest wave of Americanized cop out, the grandest scheme of the enemy is for us to be afraid. Furthermore, to speak and live in fear adds fuel to the devil’s fire and stifles that which we might accomplish for GLORY.
And I will not lie, I sat in a rocking chair in that pretty little room, decorated just for her and I grieved. Although she is still here, and I was not alone. I was reenergized by His presence. For if/when she goes, her story is not over, her legacy is royal. And to you who says you can’t, afraid you will get hurt, let the breath of the spirit breathe this truth over you: “Blessed are those who mourn…”
What if we as Christian never spoke the words, “I am afraid…” What if not a single believer or non-believer ever heard us utter this again? What if we were never seen on Fox news or in line at the grocery store listing our fears?
What if we really believed in the power of the cross? What if we knew full well, “This is the weight of my cross, it is heavy and back breaking, it hurts, still I am not afraid.”
Would the masses come forward and beg to know this Christ who eradicated the words “I am afraid” from our vocabulary? Would the neglected and abused have a safe haven in our homes? Would we conquer death and that dark valley of horror like a boss? If only…
We truly believed Jesus.
In my brokenness, He is with me. Never leaving or forsaking me.
I am not afraid.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31