by pamela spurling
The challenges we face as women, the
problems we encounter in our families and the possibilities that loom in the future can
bring on a gripping fear... that's what I'd like to share with you today, gripping fear.
Fear. Fear is the great equalizer
among women. Fear seems to be the common denominator in most women's lives no matter the
socioeconomic condition. Fear of the future based on fears of the past, fear of the
present based on fears of the future. Fear... at some point we will all face gripping fear
and we'll all have to make the decision to begin gripping fear or remain bound by that
gripping fear. You see? It's either going to grip you or you are going to grip it. It will
paralyze you or you will be free from it---but like many things, you really will have to
make a conscious decision either way---you can't leave the outcome to chance and expect to
experience the peace of obedience.
When my husband had a major hand injury
several years ago, our family went through a real time of watching the LORD care for and
provide for our needs---nay, bless us beyond our needs---and it was in that time that I
saw---we all saw the LORD do infinitely more than we were able to even imagine. But, I
tell you the truth---there were times when I was gripped with fear and I had to go before
the LORD, confessing it as sin and trust Him that all His ways are good and that He only
works good after the counsel of His own will. I looked back on some of the countless times
of faithfulness of the LORD, and the more I trusted Him, the more I saw that He really was
in control and that this situation and our needs did not escape His gaze. It was through
that time and numerous experiences before that time that I was more confident of this very
thing. (Philippians 1.6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a
good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.) I was learning about
gripping fear in the midst of gripping fear.
Ephesians 3.20 "Now unto him that is
able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power
that worketh in us"
Fear. Fear prevents us from doing the
things that He has designed for us to do, it prevents us from seeing what He wants us to
see and from hearing what He wants us to hear. For there is no faith in fear and there is
no fear in faith. You know this---I know this(!) but this knowledge was challenged in me
recently. You see, as some of you know, a friend of ours is extremely sick with
meningitis-encephalitis and septicemia (blood infection) and when there was nothing more
that could be done for him, we brought him home to live with us. You know, it never ever
crossed my mind that our family's health was in jeopardy---that one of our little children
could become ill due to our friend living with us. My husband spent all day long for weeks
with him at the hospital and I never considered that he could become ill. Then I received
a phone call that would totally rock me from that secure foundation of peace. I was
questioned about the wisdom of having our friend here and about the potential hazard to
our health. Remember, I hadn't considered this as a possibility. We were exercising
caution regarding his care, but potential danger was not something I feared. By the end of
the conversation, I was gripped with gripping fear. I don't mean gripping fear, I mean
g-r-i-p-p-i-n-g fear! I had a decision to make and over the course of the next couple of
hours, I had to make a decision, and it was this: Is God in control? Yes. Then, by the
mercy of God I would not fear... and in reading the Word I came to a passage that gripped
and impressed me. It is a passage of Scripture I have pondered a great deal, and seems
clearly to be the essence of the Christian walk. Romans, the 5th chapter. I'll print it
for you here:
2 ...and rejoice in hope of the glory of
3 And not only so, but we glory in
tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because
the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Now, after reading the passage above,
slowly the gripping fear was ebbing... did I really have anything of which to be genuinely
afraid? No. No, because we know that God is for us. We know and are "...persuaded,
that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things
present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able
to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans
8.38-39) We face tribulations, sicknesses and difficulties and every one of these must
filter through our belief system. You see? God works these times together for our good.
Knowing this and knowing that there is nothing---NO-thing that can separate us from His
love, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is then
disobedience---lack of faith---to fear.
So then, finally, in repentance and
obedience I came to a place of peace... real peace and have not feared since that evening
of gripping fear, I decided to grip that fear, give it up to the LORD and trust in
Him---alone. The doctors do not believe our friend is "contagious" and it is
highly unlikely that they would have sent him home (he is unmarried---no family) had they
thought there was a problem in doing so. Though his condition worsened significantly and
he is once again hospitalized, we continue to walk in faith and trust the LORD for His
protection and guidance. I am thankful for the patience that this trial has brought.
Surely we've all heard people say,
"Don't pray for patience---you'll surely get it!" We know that this is a
negative statement, but if we are to begin gripping fear, then we are going to genuinely
pray for patience in the midst of trials and tribulations---praying for patience does not
bring more trials and tribulations, it is patience that enables us to endure the trials,
to turn them into experiences that secure our faith... for the experience that patience
works in us is for hope---faith---in the Lord Jesus.
Even knowing this, we still can be
gripped by fear, can't we. We can hold to the truth of Romans 8.28 and yet allow ourselves
to be gripped by fear. All the talk in the news and in the community these days might
bring on gripping fear---fear of the unknown, fear of disaster, fear of trials and
tribulation in our country. You've no doubt heard all the rhetoric and it doesn't *sound*
too terribly afraid, does it?! (We'll show them! We'll never forget! We want him dead or
We'll prevail! etc., etc.) And yet, it
really does seem to stem from a spirit of fear, doesn't it?! I pray that we will come to
truly look to God---to the LORD Jesus our Savior-Not the seeming comfort in embracing or
at the very least, accepting the ecumenical services worshipping or acknowledging a
multiplicity of gods---but the LORD God, our Savior, the Creator and Sustainer of Heaven
and earth. I believe God is humbling America, for America has forgotten God and has
exalted herself above Him. We must pray and turn from our self-centered ways and we must
face these days in humble repentance, obedience and trust in the LORD...we must not
respond in a spirit of retaliation or revenge but a spirit of love and of a sound mind.
This is gripping fear. This is obedience. The Word says in 2Corinthians 10.5 "Casting
down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,
and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" When we fear,
we are allowing something to exalt itself against the knowledge of God. O, sisters, we
mustn't do this. We must take every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
Jesus our Lord. Let us begin gripping fear---anything else is not of Him. "For God
hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound
mind" 2 Timothy 1.7
In the days ahead we must choose...
gripping fear or gripping fear!
We will not be able to do this alone...
this work in us will be of the LORD. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through
Christ which strengtheneth me." May He abundantly bless you and you home.
pamela spurling © 2001