Finding God Amid Our Fear

Quote pulled from post on a water color background

Sometimes God must allow us to experience our greatest fears in order to free us from them. When it feels as if the ground beneath us will crumble to dust, we learn in a deeply personal way that “though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed” God’s unfailing love will always remain.

To put it simply, we often discover who God is in all His faithful and merciful glory, not during the tranquil periods but when we feel as if our lives have upended.

Some of you may be familiar with this story I’m about to share. I tell it often because, of all the things I’ve experienced throughout my life, this particular event led to my greatest freedom. Though at first, I felt anything but free!

At the time, I was enslaved to fear, primarily of relational loss and financial insecurity. We were living in Louisiana at the time, in a newly built, gated neighborhood and had plenty of money coming in to pay our bills and then some. My husband drove a company car, had a company pension, and managed our finances well. I had every reason to relax, but anxiety frequently won, resulting in a constant fight for control. I lived as an orphan, as if I were forced to navigate a harsh, unpredictable world all alone rather than the beloved, cherished daughter of Christ Scripture promised I was.

Had God not intervened, I’m certain I would’ve destroyed my marriage. But He did, tearing me from my highly-regulated safety plan and allowing me to land in one of my greatest fears—unemployment (my husband’s). This resulted in a three-year transitionary period where we lived off of savings for a while then moved, first to Texas then to Missouri. And with each move, God allowed falsehoods to rise to the surface so He could counter them with truth.

When I felt abandoned and unheard, He assured me He would never leave and was attentive to my every cry. When it seemed my prayers went unanswered, He reminded me that He was working out all things according to His good and loving plan, for my growth and His glory. For every fear, He gently guided me to timeless promises in Scripture, reminding me of who He was, what He’d done, and what’s yet to come. As my vision shifted off of my problems and concerns and onto my powerful, unconquerable God, my fears slowly died.

When I’m feeling frightened, I love to spend time in the psalms, which often seem to echo the cries of my heart. When it feels as if my circumstances are unjust and perhaps others have betrayed me, I know “the Lord reigns forever, executing judgment from His throne” (Ps. 9:7). When I feel exposed and helpless, I know where to turn for “the Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Ps. 9:9).

“Those who know Your name,” the Psalmist says, “trust in You.”

Or to put it another way: If we truly grasp the fullness of Christ—His love, power, and attentive faithfulness toward all His children quote from post with blue and green background—we realize we have no cause for concern and every reason to trust. We can attempt to fight our fears countless ways, but nothing soothes and strengthens the heart quite like growing closer to Christ. He is the only One with the power to save. When all our attempts to control and salvage our situation fail, we discover we truly have all we need in Him. He alone stands firm, immovable, at our side, and He always will.

Let’s talk about this! What characteristics of Christ do you find most comforting when you’re afraid? How do those characteristics speak to your current fear? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments.

For those of you waiting for the Faith Over Fear Podcast, Salem’s target release date is mid to late month. I’ll keep you posted if this changes.

My correlating Bible reading plan is currently available. You can find it HERE.

Connect with Jennifer Slattery on Facebook and Instagram and contact her HERE to book her for your next women’s event.

Find her latest articles on ibelieve:

3 Commonly Quotes Bible Contradictions And How to Explain Their Truths to Agnostics

A Prayer of Hope for a Broken Home

What Would Jesus Say About the Church Today

Watch some of Jennifer’s Faith Over Fear video devotions:

Fighting Fear by Living Loved

How Anxiety Dulls Our Spiritual Hearing

 

 

Whatever You Do

When our daughter was young, I was the “Mommy-and-Me-Jamboree” addict. I cherished every moment–every giggle, every storytime, every craft activity. And I loved to turn everything into a party. Why craft alone when I could invite the mom’s club to join us? Why play tea without making it a tea party? (That was the cutest event ever!) Birthday parties? Planned, themed, decorated to the hilt and packed with games. All to see my daughter’s face light up and her eyes squinch up behind a cheeky smile–priceless.  

Then one day it hit me. What if I started throwing parties for God? Meaning, what if I found a way to do what I loved, organizing fun and creative events, to reach others and build up the body of Christ? A short time later, I launched a “Family Ministry”.

Our first event was a skating party. Next, a scavenger hunt at a local trail, followed a month later by a pizza pool party. Yep, it was a blast!

Last week I taught my Sunday school class what it means to do everything for the glory of God and I challenged them to think about those things they love to do. Often we think serving is something we have to do, and we don’t really think in terms of those things we love to do. But I believe God is glorified when we’re on fire, not burned out. When you’re doing what you love, no one has to nudge or guilt you into doing it. The act of service bubbles out of who you are.

Let me give an example. There’s a woman at our church who loves to bake and shop. Not unusual, I know, and upon first glance, we might assume these actions are trivial. But she found a way to flip them–to use them for God’s glory. Our church has formed a relationship with an orphanage in El Salvador and this year, we want to buy Christmas gifts for all the girls. (If you want to help donate to our ongoing orphan ministry, shoot me an email at jenniferaslattery(at)gmail(dot)com) So what did my dear sister in Christ do? She baked cinnamon roles and sold them to co-workers as a way to help fund this endeavor. Then, she perused the stores, using her $10 and 50% off coupons to stretch each dollar.

*As a side note–if you live in the Midwest and are looking for something romantic to do this Christmas, join us for a charity dinner at the Gladstone Community Center in Gladstone Missouri from 6-10pm on Dec. 17th and help bring hope to El Salvadoran orphans. Make a weekend of it and stay at the Plaza. Shoot me an email for more info.

I know another woman who loves to craft. Today, she runs Christ’s Kitchen, an organization that teaches homeless and impoverished women to make craft items and soup mixes, which sell in various stores throughout Washington State. Others who love to knit make scarves for the homeless and our service men. Some sew quilts. Others coach sports teams, host youth game nights, and women’s luncheons.

It really isn’t about what you do, but about using what you do–whatever you do–to bring glory to God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (NIV)

Love this song! (And the video’s hilarious!) Sweeping up Cheerios, flipping burgers, wiping snotty noses, speaking in front of an audience of 10,000–God sees it all the same as long as everything you do is done for God’s glory.

What about you? what do you love to do and how can you do what you love to bring God glory? Join us at Living by Grace as we talk about how to live the ultimate adventure by doing everything we do for God’s glory.