From Audrey Assad’s song “I Shall Not Want”, my heart was moved. I had never quite thought of it in this way and my eyes became wide open. The words were simple, and still cut deep into my soul with comfort…not pain.
“From the fear of death or trial. Deliver me, O God”
The realization came so suddenly. I can get so wrapped up in fearing the trial, in awaiting the valley, and anticipating the hard times that the trial isn’t the issue…the fear of it is. I am scared to go through something. I am scared to walk the valley. I am scared of the dark.
But God is bigger!
And He is more.
For all the pain in life, God has comforted and thought of me. I have nothing to fear. Yet here I sit…so wrapped up in myself, so ready to sink beneath the weight, and drown in the future that I fear the struggle.
Life isn’t something to fear, BECAUSE God is with me. Every valley is bearable, and every mountaintop is more celebrated. The words in the song were so simple, and yet broke into this tired heart!
Since I was 15, I have feared so many things. Death, chronic pain, life-threatening diseases, never seeing adulthood….and all of these cast a heavy, dull fog over my life. I walked around defeated, and I went to bed restless and fearful.
But at 16 when I finally gave up my fears, I found that God upheld me through the darkest, deepest night. I realized that none of those fears came to pass. I am alive. I have no life-threatening disease. I’m an adult! And while I still experience pain, I have found a way to manage it…and my heart has sung the song of healing & rest in God.
The valley didn’t hold the deepest part of my pain, the fear did.
I often live a paralyzed life though my heart is free and my soul is safe. The simple words of Audrey Assad’s song took seconds to hear, and yet washed deep understanding over a tired, fearful heart. And now I had someplace to start.
It is a familiar place, a place I’ve been so many times and will be again. It is the place where I forget Who God is, a place for my volatile heart to attack my reality….a place that suffocates, binds, tears, and destroys.
It is a place called fear!
And I must give it up in the morning, in the afternoon, and all through the night! Fear longs to stay, but my heart is free and cannot beat paralyzed for long! I yearn to sing praise and I have to live. My soul burns with the desire to dance in the truth, and my spirit craves to LIVE the life before me. The place of fear beats down, but God’s truth & love always overcomes…and me who longs to live can do so!
I have always walked through a valley safe and loved, it is the imaginary valleys I make for myself that crush me with their weight. It is the imaginary struggle God has not asked me to walk within that chokes me near death. It is the struggle I place on myself that overtakes my reality and suffocates my joy. All of these fear-filled places are unreal!
The real valley can be walked through, because of God. The real valley can know light, because of God. The real valley can be filled with hope and rest, because of God.
But all my imaginary valleys, and this world of fear will crush and destroy me if I do not turn my heart away from its great grasp! But when I turn around, I don’t see a valley and I don’t see a mountaintop–
I just see that God is there.
And He has never left.
God only asks me to take the next step forward, and He assures me that I’ll never have to go alone. If it gets to be too much, the shadow of His wings fall over me. And if my tears fall heavy, His Rest replaces them. If the new tomorrow is full of heartache, my surrendered heart is sure, unbroken.
For this place isn’t called fear, it is called LOVE!