Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Elisabeth Elliot on Fear

How fun it is that the very day after I posted "Lines in Pleasant Places" (which, truthfully, was more about "fear" than any sort of "lines"…deliberate obfuscation), Elisabeth Elliot's e-mail devotional was about fear. Two others soon after than were also about fear. I've cut-n-pasted them below.
Oddly, the one at the bottom where she ever so briefly alludes to lying awake in the early dark battling unruly imaginings, that's the one that comforts me the most. I love Elisabeth Elliot, and somehow it cheers me to no end to know that, like me, she has sometimes let her thoughts get the better of her!


Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture Reference:
Hebrews 2:14-15 

Freedom from Fear

There is a sense in which every form of fear is essentially the fear of death. Jesus came to deliver us from that in all its forms. "He became a human being so that by going through death as a man he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might also set free those who lived their whole lives a prey to the fear of death" (Heb 2:14,15 JBP).
I know people whose lives are totally controlled by fear. There is no bondage more powerful and crippling. Fear takes over the mind, coercing and circumscribing all its activity. We know where that spirit of fear originates, and we know the name of the enemy who would hold us enslaved. In the name of our God we must tread down our enemies, including all the nagging "what ifs" of our lives. To those frightening possibilities Christ answers, "I will never leave you or forsake you." Let the very worst thing come to pass--even there, especially there, his hand will hold us. If we go into darkness, He is there, has been there before us, has conquered all its powers. That's why He became a man. That's why He died. That's why He rose again.
My Lord and my God--forgive my fears. Deliver me from bondage by the power of your resurrection.


Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture Reference:
Psalm 27:1 Proverbs 19:23 

Fear God and Fear Nothing Else

The world is shaking with fear. "What will become of us? Where will it all end? What if Russia...? What if cancer...? What if expression...?" The love of God has wrapped us round from before the foundations of the world. If we fear Him--that is, if we are brought to our knees before Him, reverence and worship Him in absolute assurance of his sovereignty, we cannot possibly be afraid of anything else. To love God is to destroy all other fear. To love the world is to be afraid of everything--what it may think of me, what it may do to me, what may happen today or tomorrow for which I am not prepared.
"The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?" (Ps 27:1 RSV).
And yet, Lord, the truth is that I am often afraid. I confess it. All the weight of your promises seems sometimes to be only a feather, and the weight of my fears is lead. Reverse that, Lord, I pray. Give me the healthy fear that will make light of all the others--"The fear of the Lord is life; he who is full of it will rest untouched by evil" (Prv 19:23 NEB).


Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: A Lamp For My Feet
Scripture Reference:
Psalm 3:3-5 

An Encircled Shield

Different phases of life have different sets of fears. A newborn baby demonstrates fear of falling and of loud noises. Swaddling clothes, used for thousands of years, are still wound tightly around the babies of the Quichua Indian tribe of Ecuador. As soon as a child is born his arms are bound to his sides, his legs straightened in a neat firm package. When this is removed the baby feels insecure and cries.
Adolescent fears about popularity, pimples, and peer pressure give way to adult anxieties about responsibility and life's major decisions.
As we grow old we are beset by the fear of aging, which may bring us weakness, pain, dependence on others, loneliness. We wake in the early dark and find ourselves the targets of many fiery darts of fear. We may think we are on guard, and suddenly a dart comes at us from an unexpected angle. We can't cover all the possibilities. We dodge and duck, but some of the fears get to us--unless we take refuge in the Lord. The psalmist calls Him "my encircling shield, my glory." No need to stare into the darkness, allowing our imaginations to torment us with the "what ifs"--"Now I can lie down and go to sleep and then awake, for the Lord has hold of me" (Ps 3:3,5 JB).

No comments:

Post a Comment