Enjoy this devotional from FlourishWriters student Melissa Smith
Our voices and hands joined together as songs of praise rose from our lips. Below us, the wide-open spaces of South Sudan spread out in every direction. The little propeller plane bounced along carrying me and nine other souls out of our comfort zones and into adventure with our God. Leaving my children and my fear behind, I leaned into the unknown future with my known God. I had said “yes” despite all reason and fear and doubt. For months, I wrestled and argued and wept, but here in this moment, clasping the hand of my dear friend and singing our way into a foreign land, joy swept over my soul.
How does soul-wrenching, devastating fear just disappear?
Months before, I sat with my husband and friends at their house as we planned and prayed over this trip. With excitement in their eyes, they happily discussed the possibilities and the hope of following God’s call. Quietly, the tension in my own heart built until I could no longer hold it in. The words came tumbling out.
“I clearly see that God has called each of you on this trip. But I’m not sure He’s calling me. I’m not sure I can leave my children, and I certainly don’t know why God would want me in Africa.” And then the tears came, unchecked and messy. All my insecurity, doubt, and fear flooded out into the open. Left exposed and vulnerable, I saw no way through my mess. To be honest, I was afraid God was going to drag me on this trip kicking and screaming. And afraid.
That is what fear does; it makes us forget. As it bears down on our hearts and minds, we lose track of the Truth of who God is and His great love for us. I needed to remember.
“And the Lord He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you,
He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
(Deuteronomy 31:8, New King James Version)
Questioning my value, God’s call on my life, and His provision for both myself and my children, I sat paralyzed in a pile of fear. However, as my friends and my husband prayed over me, I began to lean into God allowing Him to remind me of the Truth. Slowly, He poured His love into my heart.
It began with a confession. Closeted in my bedroom, tears streaming down my face, I poured out my soul before God.
- I confessed my fear to God. He reminded me of His Presence.
- I confessed my insecurity to God. He reminded me that before time began, He created me for good works.
- I confessed my doubt, and He bolstered my faith.
Like David in Psalm 13, I wrestled with my questions and brought my requests before Him. A beautiful transformation began; I was able to praise God in the midst of my fear. With the psalmist, I could say, “I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with me.”
Now, yielded before Him, He gave me the courage to pray the words that have changed my life. Armed with Truth and with a trembling heart, the words tumbled out “Father, my answer is Yes. Only I cannot go unless you go with me.”
Every heart wrestles with fear and doubt, and when we wrestle, the voices are loud. In the face of such obstacles, the gentle voice of God can be drowned out and we forget. Although the solution is simple, it is not easy: Grieve, Praise, and Trust. How do we do this?
First, we grieve in the Presence of God.
In Psalm 13, David cries out to God in anguish. He grieves in the Presence of God. From the shelter of God’s love, David is able to raise His voice in praise. As we face our doubts, fears, and difficulties, the path to remembrance is the same. In faith, we confess our weakness before God and confess our pain and fear. The joyful Truth that undergirds this process is God’s winsome Presence in our lives and His sustaining love. We will not be cast out of His Presence, instead, we are welcomed and loved.
Secondly, we praise God in the middle of the mess.
That night as I hid in my closet and cried out to God, I chose to lay all my fears before Him and praise Him. When words fail us and our fears overwhelm our faith, we can go to the Psalms and use those words of Truth to declare God’s goodness and remember.
Finally, with our fears exposed and the Truth of God’s character and goodness fresh on our hearts, we turn in trust to our Father. His provision and protection are a promise to His children.
Isaiah 26:3 beautifully declares this Truth to our fearful hearts, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because He trusts in you.” (NKJV)
Our part is faith; God’s part is protection. Simple, right? Yes, it is, but for me that process took weeks of faithful prayer by my husband and friends, honest crying out to God on my part, and courageous steps of faith forward.
Flight of Faith
In the end, I remembered God’s love. I left my children in the capable hands of their grandparents, boarded a plane, and walked in the beautiful, dusty land of South Sudan with joy. At every checkpoint, He was near. When I held babies in my arms and danced in a circle of native women, God rejoiced and so did I. Walking along dusty roads holding hands with South Sudanese children, I saw God’s goodness in calling me to this place. As my friends and I sang in worship to our Father on that little plane, there was no room in my heart for fear. His love covered me, and together we walked in a foreign land.
Fear makes us forgetful, but love, God’s love, banishes it.
Where is God calling you to go? Are you afraid? Run headlong into His arms and cry out before Him. Not only will He see your tears and hear your prayers, our Heavenly Father will flood you with His love and guard your mind with peace.
Courage will rise, and from the safety of His arms you can cry out, “Yes!”
Melissa Smith is living out her everyday adventures in the suburbs of Texas. She loves three things: God, beauty, and words. When she won her first camera in fourth grade, she began collecting beauty. Since then, she has captured snapshots of life: a quiet moment, a startled smile, simple joy. When she is not shuttling her teens to school or homeschooling her youngest, Melissa gathers beauty and writes on her website. She hopes to bring a slice of loveliness to her readers and encourage them in Christ. You can link arms with her on broken paths and find beauty in Christ at www.framedinjoy.com. Hearing from readers brings her joy! Send her a note at [email protected].