Where Fear and Faith Collide

I haven't been feeling quite myself lately. I'm sure it's due in part to the constant nausea and sleepiness. But, I think it's also the reality of a surprise pregnancy finally settling in. Now that the amusement of our shock is wearing off, faith in God's sovereignty is being called into action.

Fear and faith are inextricably connected. I think it is in anyone's life, but I know it to be so in my own. My greatest opportunity for faith is at the point of my greatest fear. I always desire unwavering faith without the pressing temptation to fear, but it just doesn't work that way. Instead, it is God's delight to show His power over my anxieties, to display His sovereignty over my disbelief, and to bolster me in the face of my paralyzing fears.

I was thinking about Mary, the mother of Jesus, today. I was thinking on the fact that she was called to something she did not prepare for or plan for herself. She was given no other assurance or security except the provision and the promise of God:

But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

(Luke 1:30-38)

Mary was afraid. Mary thought it impossible. Mary responded with submission. And then, some verses later, we read the beautiful praise she offers to the Lord, in response to what is the greatest fear-turned-faith event of her life:

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

(Luke 1:46-55)

What stands out to you the most when you read her response?

Isn't it that she speaks continually of the greatness of God and His mighty works? Her focus is not on the difficulty, the worldly pressures, the inconveniences, the fears, her own inadequacies, or the details surrounding her future. She knows but one thing: That she has been chosen to play a part in God's unfolding story of His glory. 

This passage came to mind today as I wrestled with my anxious heart and my weary body. How convicted I was to be reminded once again, that His callings are His enablings. That fear is met with faith. That faith is anchored to God's character. And that God's character is His glory on display in and through our lives....in the sometimes unbelievable circumstances or challenges He graciously prescribes.

May we be ever quick to praise Him, and to proclaim His faithfulness. Fear has no match in the face of His greatness. I pray I might have Mary's response in whatever He calls me to-- one of submission and rejoicing to be a part of His purposes and plans.

My faith is weak. I am so frail in my dependence on physical and emotional comfort. I trust Him, but often prove to trust more in myself. How I desire to grow in these areas, even in the midst of stretching seasons of life!

God is so good. In the midst of today's anxious thoughts and feelings, the Lord ministered to my heart through this beautiful song by my friend, Caitelen. Her song echos these very thoughts: That God is great. He is at work. It's all for His glory. And the life He's weaving in me is a part of His great plan.

May you be blessed today, wherever faith and fear are colliding in your life.

 

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