With Halloween upon us, my sweet son is starting to learn about monsters. Even those monsters and ghouls we think are benign can be terrifying to a child who is just learning the world is not as safe as he thought it was.
As his mother, I know the world isn’t really a safe place. But I promise him he will be okay. And I pray hard.
He’s not the only one dealing with fear these days. I come across news stories about children paralyzed with a mysteriousness virus. The radio blares headlines about Ebola outbreaks and ISIS threats. Then there are only the thousands of other atrocities–war, poverty, child abuse, murder and other results of human depravity on a global scale. It is heartbreaking…and fear inducing.
Closer to home, I know people dealing with their own problems and heartbreak–things that happened to them, beyond their control. My own brother has been hospital-bound for weeks with complications from a bone marrow transplant. His struggle has been so prolonged and difficult, an unexpected phone call can send my mind racing with worst possible scenarios.
Fear is aggressive in the way it holds us captive.
As a mom, fear seems to have even more power over me. I feel so much more vulnerable with this little person I would do anything to protect…when my protection only stretches so far.
I love more, and so I fear more.
The author of fear is described in I Peter as one who “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).” Now there’s a metaphor that conjures up scary images.
All he needs, this Lion of Fear, is to threaten the people we most cherish on this earth, to rock our stability and remind us they are never safe. He can do this by dangling before us scenarios that haven’t even happened to us yet. Or maybe they have, and we don’t want them to ever happen again. Suddenly, we are living in a prison of panic as the moist hot breath of a predator fogs the window from the outside. Muscles ripple under skin as he paces back and forth in an attempt to weaken our resolve before he pounces.
No one should be reckless around a bloodthirsty lion. But the Apostle Peter, when referring to this lion, instructs us not only to “be self-controlled and alert…” but also to “resist him, standing firm in the faith.”(1 Peter 5:9)
Resist a lion?? Sounds foolish and impossible!
The last time the Lion of Fear made a menacing appearance in my life, the fear was so strong I knew I had to pray. In my dark living room, with tears streaming down my face, I hit my knees as fast as I could. I admitted my powerlessness to escape or solve the world’s problems. I confessed my fears, the ones pushing my back against the wall this time.
Then I remembered: I serve a God who walks on water, brings people back from the grave and, Himself, conquered death. I don’t need to sit in a prison cell of my own making, alone, desperate and quaking in fear. I am most definitely not alone.
There may be a roaring lion outside, but there is a larger, more powerful Lion within me. Jesus is “the Lion of Judah” (Revelation 5:5). And He is victorious. (scroll down for my response to the Lion of Fear)
As the Newboys sing, “God’s not dead. He’s surely alive. He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion!” (Yes, I belt that song as loud as I can when I’m in my kitchen.)
That doesn’t mean I get every outcome I want when I want it. But after every blow that fear strikes at me, from the thought of losing someone I love to the risk of an outbreak, terrorist attack, lone gunman or other staggering loss…I choose to stand up again. Slowly. With resolve.
I look that Lion of Fear in the face and tell him, without reservation, that I will NOT bow to him. I will NOT cower. I will NOT give way to anger, bitterness, isolation, depression or defeat.
As evangelist Christine Caine once said, “You need to have the faith to look the lion in the face and say (with attitude), ‘My God can shut your mouth.'” He can. Just ask Daniel.
(21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” Daniel 6:21-22)
SO to the Lion of Fear prowling at my door, I say:
You may be big. But my Lion is bigger.
You may be scary. But my Lion eats lions like you for breakfast.
You may think you’ve won. But, you’re wrong. My Lion wins. He always wins.
There I stand firm, and my Lion’s shadow covers us all. His presence, with all its fierceness and authority, drives out fear. ALL FEAR.
The adversary is the one who cowers and flees. We are alone again, my Lion and me. And right there, in the middle of a nail-biting, fear-inducing world, I feel a peace that makes no sense at all…unless you know my Lion.
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