" The fear of a man brings a trap, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe." Proverbs 29:25
Fear is a powerful stronghold. I've heard it said that fear paralyzes the present and bankrupts the future. It robs us from truly experiencing a blessed and fulfilled life in Christ.
I cannot remember at what age the first glimpse of fear settled into my spirit because as a child I can never remember NOT being afraid. Like most children, I was a happy little girl. I enjoyed playing outside, running in the cow pasture, climbing the apple trees, fishing, and always hanging with my two brothers. We loved to venture off into the pasture and melt crayons on the huge boulders lying in the field. Why, I have no idea? Except, I remember loving the designs we created as the dripping, melted wax of each color beautifully ran together.
Aside from the happiness that childhood afforded me, a dark cloud hung over my head. Mornings were glorious, but with each passing hour the approaching of dusk filled my stomach with knots. With darkness not even a reality yet, the very thought of bedtime made me miserable. Terrified by night, my compassionate brother, Kelly, became my comfort and safety zone. Every night I would beg him to allow me to sleep with him. He was gracious to share his twin bed with me. Although his graciousness did come with a heavy price tag. Yes, I had to agree to scratch his back until I counted to one thousand. I willingly paid that price. Of course by the time I reached my lofty goal he was already asleep and I was left awake and alone. His presence was enough to comfort me.
When I was nine years old, our family relocated to Florence, South Carolina. In hopes of breaking my habit of sleeping with my brother, who was now 13, my mother promised to buy me a brand new bedroom suit if I would agree to sleeping in my own room. I agreed to the deal and did hold up my end of the bargain, but I was miserable every night. I can still remember the shades Mom purchased for my room. They were made of heavy, non-translucent fabric and hung from a roll. Fear gripped my heart so much that I took push pins and pinned the entire shade to the casing of my window.
Blankets were the next form of security I adopted. Every night I would lie very still in my bed with my entire body enveloped beneath the blankets, including my head. Only my nose was allowed to protrude for breathing purposes. Childlike innocence allowed me to believe that should an intruder enter my room, I would somehow go unnoticed.
Married at such a young age, I unknowingly carried this great fear into our relationship. The first three years of marriage, my husband worked dayshift and because I had someone to sleep with every night, I gave little thought to the fear that still lingered. Until one day, Steve was switched to night shift and suddenly anxiety filled my mind with questions: "What am I going to do now? I live seven hours away from my family. I have a child to take care of. Who is going to protect us while Steve is at work? How will I ever sleep again? Why are you doing this to me, Lord?"
I knew 2 Timothy 1:7 said, "God has not given us a spirit of fear,” but I could not understand why I was still so afraid?
The first night Steve left for work I thought I would literally die with fear. With every light left on in the house, I numbly, retreated to my bed. Once again, the stronghold of fear consumed me. I wanted to cover my head. I wanted to pin the blinds. I lay petrified, but this time something was different. I had my heavenly Father to turn to. Humbly, I divulged to Him how scared I really was, requesting Him to cover me and my daughter and bless our eyes with restful sleep.
What happened next has never been forgotten. It is as vivid today as it was that night in Chicago, twenty-one years ago. The appointed time had come for the trap of fear to be abolished from my life. My heavenly Father desired to show me WHO I belonged to. He spoke directly to my troubled heart through a vision as I lay outstretched on my bed. He showed me my house from the road in which it sat on. The entire house was covered by the blood of Jesus. The blood flowed from the roof, dripping downward. Then, He allowed me to not only see, but to also hear the conversation taking place between satan and his legion of demons in front of my house. Very clearly and distinctly I heard satan say, "Come on! We have to go on to the next house. This one is covered by the blood of Jesus." Discouraged, he and his army retreated in utter disappointment.
That moment changed my life forever. I would be lying if I said fear never returned to rear it's ugly head again, because it has, but never again has fear had the power to consume my life. I learned that night that my life and all that belonged to me is protected at all times by my Father in heaven. Psalm 121:3-4 tell us that "The One who keeps us never sleeps nor slumbers." 2 Chronicles 16:9 became my strength - "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” That scared little girl has now become a mighty warrior and the key to my strength is trust. Trust, my friend! God has you and yours in the palm of His hand. Whatever troubles you this night, talk to your Father about it. And then, my brother and sister, sleep! Sleep like a baby surrounded by the One who never sleeps.
"You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flys by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near unto you." Psalm 91:5-7