It Is Well
We recently had a scary situation involving a dog that ended in the ER. Thankfully, it was a relatively mild experience, but it was anxiety inducing and now I have a heightened sense of awareness around unfamiliar dogs. Even after medical treatment and a plan of action, my mind continued to replay the situation. The memory of the sounds from the event and the panicked fear I experienced build within me and I wonder “what if…” What if next time the dog doesn’t let go? What if next time the wound is deeper? What if next time I can’t get the dog to stop? Over and over.
It can be so easy to become overwhelmed with feelings of “what if”. This can lead to a life defined by fear. When we allow ourselves to be controlled by fear then we are unable to live our lives as a testimony of Christ in us. When we allow ourselves to be consumed with our thoughts and “what ifs” then we display our lack of trust in the provision of our Savior and place a higher importance on our earthly circumstances than our eternal destiny. To combat this hesitation or paralysis, let us see examine where we should direct our fear, how we can control our thoughts, and the purpose of the Christ and His Church when scary situations arise.
We are called to live a life of fear. But is that fear to be of the future, sickness, or economy? No! “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10) Rather than fearing this world and the elements within it, we are called to live in fear of the Creator of this world who maintains complete control over His Creation. We do not need to live in the fear of the unknown when we intimately know the Sovereign God. While we live in this world and encounter negative or harmful experiences, our Father in Heaven is available to listen to our pleas and cries for understanding and safety. We are able to come to Him when fears arise (Psalm 56:3) because we know that He is trustworthy and desires our good in every situation (Romans 8:28). How finite do our earthly circumstances appear when we bring them before our infinite God? Having a right view of God demands our fear of Him and when we are full of righteous fear of our Almighty God then all other fears subside. He provides His wisdom and insight when we fear Him and desire to know Him more.
Once we belong to God, He provides His own Spirit to dwell within us (John 14:16-17). Our all-knowing God knows our weakness and has provided a Helper for us in times of fear and anxiety. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) When the “what ifs” threaten to derail our thinking, we have the very Spirit of God to strengthen us and direct us in the way of self-control. We are able to reclaim our minds and attitudes when determine to walk with the Spirit, whose fruit include self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). When we live in the spirit of self-control, not only do we not entertain thoughts of what if, but also we are able to give thanks to the Lord for all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19). When you are tempted to allow your fears of the world to control you remember that the very Spirit of God is within you and He provides self-control in His own power to conquer temptation.
We have the Spirit of God, but at times we may attempt to quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). When this happens and when anxiety increases, the Church is able to come alongside us and remind us of the truth. “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” (Proverbs 12:25) While the dog situation was unfolding, I messaged a few friends asking for prayers. Two of them immediately responded reminding me that this was an opportunity for the dog owners to see Jesus in our responses. So what “good word” was able to make my heart glad in that moment? Jesus! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5) Jesus is the good word that makes us glad when troublesome times occur. The body of Christ, the Church, is able to speak truth to one another when the darkness seems overwhelming. Christ builds His Church and His people are able to encourage each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Sometimes life does not feel good. Sometimes life does not to seem to be delivering good things to us. Sometimes life is not good. But no matter the circumstance, the unexpected, or the unwelcome we can keep walking forward knowing that it is well with our souls. So when we do not feel good, let us remember that our souls are eternally made well in Christ.