Drowning is one of the worst of all fears for me. When I was a kid, I made the intelligent choice (I can’t believe I am admitting this) of putting my swim floaties on my ankles. I waddled around the pool with them on, and then thought, “I wonder what will happen if I jump in? My feet will float! Cool!!” I thought.
I remember to this day the panic in my five-year-old body, as I fought to bring my head up from under the water to get some air. I thrashed around the water, with intensity. I know I was not struggling for long. I know my dad jumped in the water and retrieved me. I know my mom calmed me down and wrapped me tightly in a towel.
In fact, I recall the scene as if watching it all unfold before my eyes. Those moments birthed in me a litany of fears. Not just one, but several. A fear of the water. A fear of my feet being confined or held down. And a fear of dying.
I am now 38 and though my fear of the water has subsided and my fear of my feet being confined has passed to an extent, the last fear often still remains. What would happen if I died?
How would my family get along? How would Marshall care for the girls all on his own?
The worst of all fears for me is being the one left behind and/or leaving my loved ones behind.
What is your “worst of all fears”?
Walking through the loss of a sibling hits pretty close to “worst of all fears”. The outcomes of what an alcohol addiction could lead to that I had conjured up in my mind actually came true. Alcohol took my brother’s earthly life. And while I still can’t fully wrap my mind around the fact that he is actually not here, present on this earth, I cannot let the reality of what has happened overtake me.
I share in Ascent to Hope about several of the “what if” fears I have faced in years past because of the alcoholism present in my family. A counselor I saw for a time advised me to “walk to the end of my fear.” In essence, she encouraged me to describe what life would actually look like if my worst fear came true?
Well, here I am. Living it. Living the reality of one of my worst fears. My fear that I would be “alone” as the only sibling. My fear that alcohol would win. My fear that I would have to watch my parents bury their son. I was forced to walk to the end of it. Not because I chose to, but because I had no other choice.
If I am honest, and remove all the sugar-coating niceties, the truth is, the reality of my worst of all fear SUCKS! It’s just awful.
God provides for us in his holy word, The Bible, a glimpse into the life of Job, who we have been studying for the last few weeks. He displays his deepest level of fear in these verses, Job 3:24-26 (NIV):
“For sighing has become my daily food;
my groans pour out like water. What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil.”
Job faced his worst fear. He lost everything. Family. Friends. Wealth. Health. Home. Possessions. Reputation. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!
Because of the weightiness of his trials, loss and turmoil he had no rest. Job too, was pushed to meet his worst of all fears face to face. He had to meet it head on, he had no other choice.
In this life, we cannot always choose what happens to us. Whether it’s loss, sickness, abuse, accidents, job loss and so on, we may not choose any of these things. BUT we can choose how we move through the situations. And yes, it is an intentional choice to move through it.
I believe our choice to walk through fear begins with facing the reality of the fear. What I feared most actually happened. Face to face with a choice, what now, what next.
After days of bantering back and forth with friends Job makes a proclamation of faith. A proclamation that exposes the how and why he was able to move through the reality of his worst of all fears has his reality. It was Job’s time to speak up, to draw a line in the sand, to put a stake in the ground.
Job proclaimed, in the presence of his friends, “Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:23-27)
For Job, there was no explanation for why he had to walk through this suffering. He was being tested. The level of his faith was tried. And through it all, he pleaded for God to take away the anguish of his heart.
What Job believed prior to the suffering, he lived out with deeper understanding amid and after the suffering had passed. He understood that after all was said and done, when everything had been stripped away from him, when he was made to face the worst of all fears as his reality, he could still rejoice because his “redeemer lives”. The joy, the opportunity to see God, to be in his presence, to experience him with intimacy is worth every moment of suffering. To know God and be known by him, there is nothing better.
Though one of the worst of my fears has happened, I chose to walk through it, and continue to walk it out believing and trusting, “my redeemer lives” and “I will see him with my own eyes.”
This verse reminds me of the old Bill Gaither song, Because He Lives. I came across a newer version of it that I encourage you to listen to. This version of Because He Lives was recently recorded by David Crowder, Johnnyswim and Tori Kelly. It is so moving.
My favorite verse in this song is “And then one day, I’ll cross the river, I’ll fight life’s final war with pain; And then, as death gives way to victory, I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!” Death, the worst of all fears, does not have the final say. Death is not the end, it is only the beginning for the redeemed life of every believer in Jesus Christ.
Because He Lives, the worst of all fears will not have the final say. The worst of all fears may transpire on this earth, but God is in the business of redeeming us, and bringing us into His Glory that will last forever and ever.
Do you know Him? Do you know Jesus? Do you want to know Him? If you don’t know him reach out to me, I would be happy to lead you to the person of Jesus so that you too can find rest in the loving arms of a Savior, and let the fear of death be washed away.