Last week I asked the question What are you afraid of? I shared a couple of stories from friends about their fears and how they overcome them. What I did not share was my own story out of fear, partly because it is a very personal story, yet as I begin my journey through Lent it is here that God is leading me and it is out of this that I painted the rock in the prayer above. The “cross” in it is an outline of a darker pigment in the rock, that I first noticed when I picked up the rock a couple of years ago. As I examined it again this year, the cross beckoned to me. First it reminds me that if I keep silent the very rocks will cry out of the love of God. Second it reminds me that the love of God, expressed in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is hidden in many aspects of life and many parts of creation, just waiting to be noticed and brought to light.
What am I Afraid of?
As I prayerfully thought about this question what came to mind is my fear of being alone when I grow old. In some ways it is a legitimate fear. My husband Tom is 15 years older than I am, I have no children and my family is half a world away in Australia.
I think my fear originates from my experiences as a premature baby. I spent the first month of my life in hospital. My mother did not even see me until she brought me home. Not surprisingly I have always suffered from fears of being abandoned, left alone, disowned by my family.
None of these things have ever happened, but as we all know, fear is irrational.
As I pondered my fear I knew that even when I felt alone and isolated in that hospital incubator, God was with me. God nurtured and strengthened me so that I grew healthy and strong. My mother loved me and expressed her breast milk each day for me to drink. Prem, unexpected, difficult but still loved.
What Would I Do If I Was Not Afraid?
This was a very important question for me to ask myself at the beginning of my Lenten journey.
If I was not afraid I would see that I am never alone because God is always with me. I would nurture a deeper and more intimate relationship with God for the days ahead.
I would learn to appreciate more the community God has allowed me to be a part of – both those that live in our small residential community and those that don’t but that still provide friendship, love and caring.
I would nurture the relationships with my family, geographically distant though they may be as I know that these too will be important in the future.
How Could God’s Love Overcome this Fear?
No fear is legitimate I realize, not when we believe in a God who is everywhere and in everything, and certainly when I am surround by as much love and caring as I am.
As I began my Bible search on the word love this passage from Proverbs 3:3-5 (The Message) stood out for me:
Don’t lose your grip on (God’s) Love and Loyalty.
Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.
Earn a reputation for living well
in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
So I come today repenting of my lack of recognition of the love around me and the ways I have, at times, lost my grip on God’s love and loyalty. Sometimes I have pushed this love away and rejected the One who always holds me tenderly as in a mother’s arms.
I have failed to appreciate the love of my heavenly father who has protected me from all the risky adventures of my life – like climbing mountains, working in refugee camps and travelling alone around the globe.
I have failed to fully enter into the generosity of God’s love, which has provided for me through all the tough and all the abundant economic times of my life.
I have failed to trust that my times are indeed in God’s hands and rested in the belief that all the love that has surrounded me since my conception will continue to surround me until my death.
I have failed to embrace the capacity of the love of my God who calls me a beloved daughter
For I have every confidence that nothing—not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing—can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38,39, The Voice)
What is Your Response.
How long is it since you fully immersed yourself in the love of God. Watch the video below and think about the many ways in which God loves you. Is there a response that God is asking of you?