Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Storm Clouds Gathering or Getting Rid of Toxic Fear

I wonder if it's because I'm British.... The tendency to watch the horizon for signs of impending bad weather is something akin to my tendency to look towards the future with a sense of foreboding.  Both might be seen as British characteristics.  Everyone knows we're obsessed with the weather,.. and you'd have to admit we're not the most optimistic of races.  Don't get me wrong, I love being British; we are stalwart and resilient, having fought off our (then) enemies in two world wars.  Ask Granny if there's cake for tea, though, and even when it's practically bursting out of the Silver Jubilee biscuit tin on the top shelf in the pantry cupboard, she'll look dour and reply: ooh, I don't know about that then.  Maybe there's a connection between our lack of optimism and our lack of sunshine; it wouldn't surprise me.

Recently I've been worrying a lot.  Little things have escalated in my mind to become big things which have the potential to destroy all the brightness in my life.  There were some clouds.  Tiny ones actually.  To me they looked brooding and dangerous.  I started to panic, to make plans in my mind about how I would deal with such an intense storm in my life; I started to lose control.  In the end they turned out to be nothing more than a few wispy cirrus, floating overhead with not even a speck of rain to dampen my day.  I breathed a sigh of relief, thanked God and began to think....

Fear is toxic.  If you've seen Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith you'll be familiar with Annakin Skywalker's seduction by the dark side.  If you're not familiar with the film you only need to know one thing about Annakin's demise as a Jedi Knight: it begins with fear.  He fears that he will lose his beloved wife, Padme, in childbirth.  This fear is so strong that it begins to control him and, furthermore, puts him at the mercy of those who would manipulate him for their own ends.  We all know what happens next; Padme dies anyway and Annakin loses himself to the dark side.  It's very much like the story of Othello by William Shakespeare.  Othello listens to the whispers of an enemy and he is rendered murderous with jealousy; death and destruction is his final end. 

Satan has a plan for our life.  It is the complete opposite of God's plan.  God has a plan to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11) whereas Satan is a thief who comes in the night to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).  And how does he instigate this vile plan?  In 1 Peter 5:8 we are warned: 
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like 
a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. NIV
The devil has no real power over us if we belong to Jesus BUT he will prowl about us and roar like a lion.  And why does a lion roar?  To frighten his prey, who will either become immovable with that fear, or frenzied and confused.  Either way, they make a much easier object of prey.  Satan wants to make you fear; he wants to immobilise you or send you into a frenzied tailspin.  He has a plan for your destruction.  And his whispers,... those worries that haunt you in the middle of the night when rationality is sleeping; they are lies to entrap you.  

So what is the answer?  The answer is always faith and trust in our Lord, Jesus Christ.  It sounds trite.  Please don't switch off now; it isn't trite.  It isn't an easy answer or a fob off.  It's the truth.  The truth is that sometimes those dark and brooding storm clouds will pass over and sometimes they will send torrents hurtling down upon you when you least expect it.  Life is like that; but life is not about what happens to us,... it's about how we respond.  We can respond with fear, allowing Satan to have the upper hand, or we can respond with faith in God's promise that he will NEVER leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8 amongst others).  Scripture tells us not to fear over one hundred times and we need not fear because God is true to his promises and, even when it seems like life is falling apart, HIS plan for our good and HIS glory is being worked out.

When you see the storm clouds gathering what should you do?  Respond with faith; trust God and walk forward knowing that, whatever happens, He is with you.  It's not an easy thing to do; it will require stalwart resilience but it IS possible, for ALL things are possible in Him (Mark 9:23).

Love and prayers
Jo x

No comments: