Fear Without

Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid. Matthew 14:27.

Fear has been a security blanket my whole life.

That may sound oxymoronic, but we’ve all had those vices we cling to regardless of how destructive we know they are. Fear is familiar. I don’t know what to expect from the unknown, but I know what to expect from fear.

I think now of the women we serve. When the pregnancy test is positive, I imagine fear is right there, a shadowy shoulder to cry on. A twisted, pseudo-comfort. She doesn’t know how this baby will change her life. She doesn’t know how to be a mom, or how to afford another mouth to feed, or how she’ll explain it to her parents. But she knows fear. And sometimes that familiarity with terror is enough to drive her into a spiral of thoughts she never imagined she’d entertain: Maybe this can all go away...no one would know.

Jesus Christ already defeated fear. Yet in this world in between His resurrection and return, many of us battle with daily anxieties. He knows this, and He never stops reaching out His hand to pull us from our terror as He rescued Peter from the crashing waves.

You may be familiar with the story from Matthew 14: Jesus goes away to pray alone while the disciples head out to sea. A storm rises, and Jesus returns and walks toward the disciples on the water. The group freaks out, thinking they’ve seen a ghost rather than their rabbi. Jesus commands them, “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.” Peter boldly asks Jesus to prove His identity by commanding Peter to walk toward Him on the water as well. Jesus does as he asks, yet when Peter turns his eyes to the waves, his steps falter and he begins to sink, crying out “Lord, save me.” His rabbi is quick to reach out His hand and rescue Peter, and when they return to the boat, the wind calmed down and the rest of the crew admitted, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Every day at Lifeline, we look into the eyes of someone facing a great unknown. No matter how experienced a parent they are, this pregnancy is a brand new person, a life completely unfamiliar. Wherever each client is at emotionally or spiritually, we are ready to welcome them with the hands of Jesus that say, “Take heart, do not be afraid.” And we do pray that these women and their families would accept this love and respond, “Truly Jesus is the Son of God.”

Of course we know our encouragement and services don’t pacify the entire situation. Pastor and author Louie Giglio points out in his book Goliath Must Fall that when Jesus reached out and caught Peter “the storm didn’t stop immediately--that happened after Peter and Jesus reached the boat. No, the storm was still raging when Jesus caught Peter.” God doesn’t promise to make the unknown become familiar, but He walks with us through the storm even though we may doubt.

As we the staff, volunteers, and supporters of Lifeline chase after Jesus, longing to imitate Him more and more each day, we pray that He would equip us to walk with our clients through their storms. Fear will not win. Jesus already did that.

Will you join us in this Circle Prayer, a prayer meant to impress upon us the sensation of God’s all-encompassing love? Let us pray for His calm, hope, and love that casts out our own fears and the fears of the families we serve.

Circle me, O Lord, with your loving presence,
Keep fear without and calm within,
Keep fear without and hope within,
Keep fear without and love within,
This day and always.

-From Justine Allain Chapman’s The Resilient Disciple

By Kath Crane

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