Guest Post Written by: Lisa Q. Herrin
The reality of facing one’s worst fears doesn’t always translate into a popular message. In fact, some of us would rather pretend we never owned a fear—becoming macho-like in our denial. But fears exist, so much so that we can’t “name and claim” our way out of them. I found this to be true for more personal reasons—when my worst nightmare came to pass.
I charged down the walkway outside of the hospital with a head full of words I couldn’t fully grasp. Around and around the building I walked, attempting to dismantle the words previously delivered to me. “He will not live through the weekend.”
The man of my prayers was slipping outside my reach and nothing I could utter seemed to halt his slow slide away. I’d attempted to activate every faith message in my arsenal to slay this death sentence, but my utterances could not offer the outcome I desperately craved.
Breathless and out of energy, I headed to the hospital sliding doors when the Holy Spirit said, “What are you afraid of?” As I slumped onto a vacant bench, I considered His question. My answer burst forth in avalanche proportion, as tears dripped onto my lap. Not caring who witnessed them, I inwardly screamed, “You ask what I’m afraid of? I’m afraid of a life I’ve never known…of raising Joe as a single mother…of living alone…of pain and suffering…of losing the person I love more than anyone in this world.” As the anguish emptied, peace filled those desert places. In 1990 I buried my husband.
In a wounded soul the darkness beguiles us with hopeless language, even as it slays us with whiplashes so deep it shreds our skin beyond recognition. It is true—those counted worthy to suffer are never the same again and those willing to face their fears become servants for better service. Our response to fear determines the outcome.
When Elijah encountered the fearful Jezebel he chose to run. When Saul stared into the eyeball of fear he sacrificed to the detriment of his soul. When Abraham feared the foreigners, his maneuver was to outwit them. And all of these “fear fixes” have found a place in me. When I attempted to run, the doors were bolted. When I took matters into my own hands, faith fled. When I thought I was wittier than the witless, I crumbled. But victory stood when I determined to feel the fear and confess it.
Facing our fears doesn’t always have a Hallmark ending. It requires tough faith, tough decisions, in tough times. As we walk through an uncertain day with an equally uncertain ending, it’s all the more important that we answer the question that most certainly the Holy Spirit is asking of all of us, “What are you afraid of?” Are you afraid of financial failure? Losing a wayward child forever? A job? Divorce? Scandal? The answer can determine your future.
Own your fear. Face it. And believe God anyway.