Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: March 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

Worth More than Fear

When I was a kid, I was terrified of the dark. Even still, I have trouble falling asleep in absolute darkness, and I panic when the power goes out. Because of this fear, though, there were many nights when I would, terror-gripped, be hiding under my covers crying as I called for Mom or Dad from my bedroom. Daddy would come in and tell me I shouldn't be afraid. I wouldn't believe him, though, until he had checked my closet, or told me the doors were locked, or stayed in my room until I fell asleep.
Fear only dissolves when we realize we have nothing to fear. We need reason. This goes for a lot of things. Someone could say, "Case, you would love this movie!" My first response is, "Why?" In the same way, when Dad told me I had no reason to be afraid, my first response was, "Why?"

My first response has not changed. My faith is small, and I don't always listen when the Lord says, "Case, just don't be afraid!"
One of the glorious characteristics of Jesus, though, is He always gives us promises with the comfort. He gives us an answer to the "why?"

"Even the hairs of your head are all counted. Don't be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows." Matthew 10:30-31

Jesus doesn't simply state, "Hey, don't be afraid!" and then walk away with a shrug and a "just cuz!" when we ask "why?"
He says the reason I should not be afraid is because I'm worth more than many sparrows.
Why should this make me feel any better, or any less afraid?
The disciples would have heard this promise and heard echoes of what Jesus had mentioned about sparrows in His Sermon on the Mount, too: "Look at the birds in the sky. They don't sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth much more than they?" (Matt. 6:26) His followers were told to look at the birds of the air as a reflection of the Lord's provision and care, and as a standard for them to compare their worth to.
And who would say that the sparrows are worth more than we are? We are called Children of God, His very own; Treasured and Beloved.

So when He says my reason for not needing to be afraid is that I'm worth more than many sparrows, I should not be surprised. He is pointing out His care and provision, His attention to detail, and a greater care and attention than He gives the sparrows.

The worth He places on me is far, far more than many sparrows. He will care for me, providing for all my physical and metaphysical needs. I can be confident and fearless, not because my circumstances say I can be, but because He places me at a worth high enough to be
So, in a way, I'm worth too much to be afraid. I'm worth more than fear. Fear belongs to those who don't know what they're worth or don't know who's looking out for them. But because I have both, I have no need to be afraid. Of anything.

Friday, March 6, 2015

"And GOD is faithful..."

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

I think it really interesting, and worth noting, that Paul does not write to the Corinthians and say, "Don't worry, your temptations are nothing unusual; everyone faces them. But I believe in you! You are strong overcomers!" 
No, Paul says, "Your temptations are the same every man faces. But God is faithful."
Paul does not give his audience any false hope in themselves, but points them directly to the only source of true strength. 

Sometimes I feel, in our efforts to exhort and encourage others (especially fellow Believers), we can be very quick to point to their own strengths that will get them through. We sound something similar to "Don't worry, So-and-So; I know you have it in you. You're such a strong person, and you've done so much, and you're so good, and you're so great at these things," and so on. But truly, we're all poor and broken sinners incapable of doing one good thing apart from Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit within us.

So it should not be surprising that Paul puts the emphasis on God's faithfulness in his encouragements. He is very aware of how easy it is to encourage someone in their own strength, and very aware of how misleading that can be. Our only strength, our only hope of goodness, lies in Christ.
In addition, that is the only encouragement I can give you in the every day. There are constant temptations to sin or doubt or worry or despair. But God is faithful. And that's something we can count on. 

Just some food for thought. :)
Hope you are all having a fantastic week!