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Tell Me Your Story—A Way Through the Fear

DSC_3703_2Dear Readers,

I have published the Tell Me Your Story column for over a year now—A Way Through the Fear concludes this series. I’m excited about a new direction for 2012. Be looking for a new series, Going Deeper, that will focus on God’s attributes. I can think of no better meditation in troubled times, than to center your heart and mind on Him.

Questions, feedback? Contact Ruth at ruthywood@gmail.com.

A Way Through the Fear

woodsBy Ruth Wood

“Forget it! Why even talk about it anymore?” my husband shouted and slammed the door behind him.

I stood rooted to the bedroom floor, reeling against the tidal wave of questions flooding my mind. How could our marriage survive? My husband and I had been fighting more and more about issues that seemed to defy resolution, and this last argument was off the Richter scale. Were we teetering on the brink of divorce? How could I start a new life and support two young boys? I couldn’t bear to imagine them shuttled between parents. All this turmoil made my throat and chest hurt so much I could scarcely breathe.

Disorientation

For several days I walked around aimlessly, forgot appointments, neglected my work and barely comprehended conversation. In despair and desperation I cried out to God and began searching for answers in the Bible. Isaiah 41:10 comforted me, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Hanging On

I read this verse repeatedly over the next few days. Since it reduced my anxiety, I decided to go a step further and compose a simple melody to help me memorize the words. As I went about my day, every time fear threatened to overwhelm me, I started humming the song in my head, or if no one was around, I affirmed God’s presence out loud. Singing helped me pry my thoughts from circumstances, focusing them instead on the strength and hope God provided.

Comfort and Hope

Isaiah 49:16 also spoke deeply into my heart at this time. Here God uses such beautiful language to speak about the covenant with his people: I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. According to the Bible, Jesus literally fulfilled these words. His great love for us compelled him to lie down on that Roman cross and place his hands under the executioner’s nails. A painful engraving. Offering up his life for ours, He paid the price for our wrongdoing so that we would know God’s heart of forgiveness and love toward us. This made me ask myself, Aren’t these hands that gave all for love trustworthy?

Perspective

I began to see that regardless of the outcome—a healed marriage or divorce—in God’s hands I would be all right. The following months as my husband and I worked to resolve serious marital conflicts, I continued to meditate on various scriptures. Little by little I let go of panic and relinquished my need for control. Eventually my marriage recovered, but the lessons I learned about trusting God in the face of incapacitating fear will stay with me forever.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)

Prayer:
Lord, thank you that I may rest in the palm of your capable and loving hands. I need not struggle with my fears alone for you are with me. When circumstances look discouraging, you speak through your Word to continually shine the candle of hope into my life. I thank you and praise you for being my strength, my comfort, and my peace…every single day.

Putting faith into action:
Memorize Isaiah 41:10, 49:15-16; and Philippians 4:6, then meditate on these passages daily. For a deeper understanding of these truths, try rewriting the verses in your own words. Then express your response to the Lord by composing a poem, painting a picture, or writing your own song based on these verses.

©2010 Ruth Wood. All rights reserved. Used by permission.