When fear threatens to extract all the air from my dreams, I’m thankful for the courage and strength that come from an upholding God. 

Driven by Fear to the God Who Casts Out Fear

The road out of Jericho was always well-traveled, but Bartimaeus could sense something different in the air. Just as the angle of the hot sun on the back of his neck told him the time of day, the buzz of the crowd, the whispered excitement, and the press of bodies told him the truth that his ruined eyes could not — something was stirring.

Slowly, he pieced together the scene: a Healer, a Miracle Worker named Jesus was heading his way, and the word on the street . . .? This Teacher just might be the promised Messiah.

A seasoned beggar, Bartimaeus waited until just the right moment and then poured every possible ounce of drama into his anguished plea:

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” he howled.

“Pipe down, Bartimaeus,” hissed the embarrassed townspeople, but the blind beggar called out all the louder.

In this encounter of a life time, Bartimaeus put all that he knew about Jesus into his heart’s cry, for he had a huge and impossible dream. Bartimaeus wanted to see, and he boldly broadcast his deep and urgent need to the only One in the universe who could help him.

Saying our dreams out loud can be intimidating — even frightening.

It feels vulnerable.

Exposed.

Whether it’s a career goal, a longing for intimacy, a desire for a child, or an avenue of service to God that won’t stop calling our name, it’s easy to allow the sheer size of the dream to muzzle our cry for help and to overwhelm us with fear.

Courage and Strength from an Upholding God

As a young woman, I believed that God was calling me to teach the Bible, and so I volunteered for a summer ministry that landed me in front of a crowd of rowdy kids with nothing in my trembling hands but my Bible and a few flash cards. Thinking that preparation — knowing my material inside out – would chase away the terror, I studied hard with a pounding heart.

One evening, my team leader flipped the pages of my Bible away from the story of blind Bartimaeus and into the book of Isaiah, handing me a torch of Truth that re-ignites even today whenever I sit around a circle of women with open Bibles:

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

That young woman who hid behind her long hair and struggled to make eye contact with the world still finds her way back into my head sometimes. When I’m standing at a microphone, or preparing to click on “publish,” or leading a stressful meeting, I’m tempted to be still, to shut down, and to believe the lie that my words don’t matter — that I am, somehow, unqualified.

When fear threatens to extract all the air from my dreams, I’m thankful for the courage and strength that come from an upholding God. Mustering every fragment of truth that I can remember about Him, I release my dream to His care, and I hear the Spirit gently whispering:

Would you rather give in to the fear and miss this opportunity?

Have you forgotten that I am the God who says, “What do you want me to do for you?”

In the light of this blazing truth, may we answer God’s omnipotence with a trust that cries out, fearless.

By grace, may we let our fear drive us to the One who casts out all fear.


May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you,

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This post first appeared at God-Sized Dreams

 

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

67 thoughts on “Driven by Fear to the God Who Casts Out Fear”

  1. Yes! I have been on that cliff many times when God was saying jump! When I surrendered and followed His lead, I discovered such faith provided wings.
    It feels as late that I am back on the cliff. But this time I am not stifled by fear, but waiting. I am waiting on God to say jump and wondering if He will. Life is being lived on the cliff and I am not fond of high places. My word for this year is faith! Maybe God is calling me to have faith to love the mountain instead of moving me to jump.
    Thank you, Michele for opening my eyes to see this season of my life more clearly. I can wait as long as I know, as Isaiah said, “I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
    Blessings,
    Debi

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  2. Michele, this brought tears to my eyes. What a moving story! God does provide everything we need to still our fears. We must open our eyes to see His truth. So glad you found the courage needed to write and publish.

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  3. Love this, Michele! The words, “In the light of this blazing truth, may we answer God’s omnipotence with a trust that cries out, fearless.” For a fearful one like me, what a powerful heart cry. Thank you:)

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  4. Well said, Michelle. I can relate. I think we are both introverts, and that does make a difference. I know I have to keep reminding myself, “now, why am I doing this again?” In the note above, “one brave unveiling of truth at a time” is encouraging! I recently had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen for eight years. She wanted to thank me for speaking truth to her. Everyone else just said, “it’s your decision.” She said my simple sentence “why would you want to keep your child from learning more about God for two more years?” Compelled her to action instead of taking the easy way out of parental responsibility.
    I remembered that conversation and always wondered how she took it. It was one of my first forays of speaking out what I believed. I’m glad I was able to hear the outcome of doing so! That encourages me to continue! One brave unveiling of truth at a time. Great encouraging reminder!

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    1. Good for you! I’m so glad you followed through on that impulse. Your experience, shared here, is very encouraging to me, so I know others will learn from your example. I think we have the idea that people want to be agreed with and affirmed all the time–and maybe that’s true some of the time! But then, I do believe we surprise people when we take the time and the risk of speaking an unpopular truth into their situation that makes them stop in their tracks and think.

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  5. So beautiful. Oh how I recognize myself in your words and the truth in what you share here: “By grace, may we let our fear drive us to the One who casts out all fear.” I will never forget how the day before I had a full-blown attack of PTSD, God gave me King David’s words: “Whenever I am afraid I will trust in the LORD”. As wave upon wave of fear, despair and lies rushed through me, I heard my heart repeating, over and over again: “Whenever I fear, I will trust in the LORD.” And I could just let the waves sweep over me, knowing it would pass and I was safe in His arms. God then promptly used my weakness that was so openly exposed to cast out fear from another young person, as it emboldened her to unburden her heart in new ways.

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    1. I am so thankful that you shared this story here. We do seem to have the idea that we are paralyzed until fear is completely banished, and that could not be farther from the truth. I think the reason fear is mentioned so much in the psalms is that God wants us to step out in spite of the fear that’s our natural response to risk (some of us more than others, right?), and to put HIS strength and HIS capabilities on display.
      Obviously you’ve done that right in the trenches! Thanks for sharing the experience here.

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  6. I needed this today, Michele. Thank you for encouraging us to muster together every truth we can remember about our upholding God. God has often comforted and strengthened my heart with Isaiah 41:10, and the reminder of this verse is so timely. Love and blessings to you!

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  7. Thank you for sharing this story…not only that of Martimaeus, but yours as well. Very encouraging indeed. I can identify with the feelings that haunted and stalked you. I am not so sure there aren’t quite a few of us. Believing I could do something, say something, or matter was not in me and my early Christian teaching reinforced that with the idea to believe would have been pride. Thankfully, the Lord, his Word, a lot of experiences later makes that not as likely, but 3+ years ago when I started my website and started writing “for the whole world to see” it cropped up again. Then it whispered when I risked writing the book that was published this summer. The enemy is indeed a liar, but his whispers are relentless and his timing shows he knows us well. Praise the Lord that He knows all those schemes too and knows us even better, knows the call He has on our lives and purposes to fulfill it.

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  8. Oh thank you for these beautiful and encouraging words today. This is the 3rd reading today that has referred to God’s right hand holding us up. I knew I needed to hear it the first time I read it this morning, but now late at night, He is still reminding me that He IS holding me up, and I can give my fears into His mighty hand. Blessings to you Dear Sister.

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  9. Michele, this post moved me to tears! Fear has held me down and kept me quiet way too many times. Like you, I still have to push past the fear and it is not always comfortable. But I am so grateful He “upholds me with His righteous right hand.” Blessings!

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  10. Michele, love, love, love your open, honest, transparent words from your heart. This post reminds me of a question that has comforted me for many years… “What would a girl just like you do, in a situation just like the one you are in, if she was absolutely certain that God was with her?” Many blessings to you dear friend ❤️

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  11. Yes! I know the feeling of fright as I stand in front of an audience or publish what makes me feel vulnerable. Connecting back to God calling and equipping me for what He has planned for me is vital for my perseverance. I was encouraged by reading how you feel and subsequently handle those moments. Thanks for sharing! I tried tweeting but only saw a black, blank screen.

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    1. Not sure what the Twitter problem is . . .
      But thank you for your thoughts on “connecting back to God’s calling and equipping.” Wow, that’s so key to what we do and why we do it. If it were not for that, I don’t think I would have ever written or spoken a single word.

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  12. Great words of encouragement! Thanks for sharing your story and the insights and wisdom gained from that experience.

    I’ve been operating too much with fear as the driver lately. Your words were a comfort to me.

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    1. Oh, that’s such good news to me. I always quail a bit at sharing this kind of post–it’s so much safer to share the words of others in a book review! But knowing that you have been helped by it is definitely a great comfort to me as well.

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  13. Yes. I have experienced this so many times. Sometimes I backed away in regret. Other times I surrendered as God pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ve led meetings after having a nerve-induced crying jag in the bathroom. 🙂 His grace is always sufficient. I take comfort that even the apostle Paul spoke of being with people “in weakness and in fear and much trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3).

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    1. Barbara, I’m so glad to know that you are also finding the grace of God to be sufficient — in spite of big challenges and (sometimes) small courage. I love that verse, and really am encouraged to think that even Paul trembled at times.

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  14. Your words, “…I’m tempted to be still, to shut down, and to believe the lie that my words don’t matter – that I am, somehow, unqualified” resonated with me. I was writing my 3,755th post when I searched for other faith-based writers on my WordPress Reader. I found you! My posts were marked “offensive” on Facebook, twice, by a vengeful relative. She threatened to do it and carried out her threat. I can no longer post to Facebook and I lost 96% of my followers. I’m in my 10th year of blogging without ads, affiliate marketing, or accepting donations. I’ve felt everything you said. Thank you for the encouragement. I have two blogs but am writing exclusively at thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com.

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  15. Fear not….plus I try to remind myself that fear is of the devil who uses it to intimidate. Thanking God for being on our side when comes to fear. I am with you always. Amen.

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  16. What a wise team leader, to see your fear and give you the life changing tools to banish it away. I praise God for your courage to continue pushing the publish button and share your faith publicly. Thank you for sharing this wonderful testimony that is so well written!

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    1. Mia, it’s so good to hear from you!
      That team leader was, indeed, a wise woman and more than once spoke truth into my life as a young woman.
      I’ve been blessed by godly women all along the way.
      I do appreciate your reading and taking time to comment here.

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  17. What a wonderful post and witness of your faith. I love it. Being willing to stand up and fight against fear is definitely a daily battle but it is so worth it. Thank you for your inspiring words . Coming over from Senior Salon today and so glad I did.

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  18. I am so blessed to watch you as you continue to grow and step out of your comfort zone in your writing. The reference to Isaiah 41:10 is perfect to point us to God’s truth that can carry us in all situations. “Fear not, for I am with you” is the perfect mantra for all of us as we learn to follow God into those places that leave us shaking in our boots.

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    1. A friend recently reminded me how much the content of that verse is picked up in the old hymn “How Firm a Foundation,” which, of course, got me thinking about the other verses as well. My brain definitely needs a firm foundation of fearless faith in God.

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  19. This so complements my recent meditations in Paul’s words spurring Timothy in. God has not given a spirit of faithless Timidity (my translation) but of love, ability and a disciplined mind! Thank you for sharing your weakness Michele. It resonates with mine!

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  20. Thanks so much for sharing this encouragement at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com! The Lord is asking me to do something that scares me right now, and I found this to be a very timely read.
    Tina

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  21. I’ve been meaning to get back here and comment on this post for too long, Michele! I appreciate your book-review-writing skills so much, but I also love when you veer off that path onto something a bit more personal (like this post). I’m glad you listen to the Spirit and not the lies when it comes to teaching and writing. 🙂

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    1. That’s so encouraging, Lois. I love it when I can share a poem, but they do feel more vulnerable than simply reporting on the words of another.
      I appreciate your company in this writing life.

      Like

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