Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Faith and Fear

It depends on where you go to church, what you hear about fear and faith.
I've heard a lot of different little quotes and adages about the two.
But most of them are extrapolations made by people.

I was on pinterest the other day, and saw this:

I wasn't looking for anything on the subject, I hadn't been thinking about it at all.
But once I read that, I started to think about it more.
I let it rattle around in my head all day.

Then I was working on a post, 

and needed to go through my photos, 

and I saw this:

This is me in my second labor.
This is me pushing.
This is me facing the scariest part of my biggest fear.
(My first baby was born via c-section after two hours of pushing and baby not budging.)

At this point, 
when the photo was taken,
I knew in my heart, 
to the very depths of me, this baby was going to be born here in my home. 
At this point I knew what He told me ahead of time was true.
But I also had never been more scared. (If you read my blog through my pregnancy, you might have noticed I had been pretty scared to get to that moment. ) In that moment, and the realness of fear was unlike anything I had ever experienced.
I didn't think I knew how to push a baby out. 
I had a lot of doubt.
I had an endless amount of fear.

I had faith.

I had the confidence of His guiding, but I still felt scared.

It took faith for me to get in that pool and push.

It took faith for me
to get pregnant and face this moment again.

And I was terrified of it all.
I knew ahead of time that I would be walking in faith through the scariest thing I had ever done.
And come to find out, it was scary, and I was scared.

I had faith.

It was only by faith, and His strength, I could have done this stuff.

I think churches say, "You can't have fear and faith at the same time"- type-statements, hoping to build up faith.
But all it did for me was make me feel like a mess.
I questioned ALL THE TIME if I was seeking after God the right way in this.
Questioned if I was some how wrong, because...
I thought,
if I was in more faith, 
obviously I would be feeling differently.

But here and now, writing to you today,
I'm gonna have to say,
I think you can have faith while you have fear.

I think that, likely, the strongest faith you'll ever have
will be
when you are afraid.
(Because that's when you will need faith the most.)

I'm not asking you to be afraid. 
And I'm not championing for fear -- clearly God doesn't want us to be afraid. 
There like like a billion verses saying, "Do not be afraid."

But I don't think those verses have any baring on whether or not you can still be in faith, if you are afraid.

Bible Story:
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
She had heard the reports concerning Jesus, and she came up behind Him in the throng and touched His garment, For she kept saying, If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health.
Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 
Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, 
trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

(From both Mark 5 and Luke 8, emphasis mine)

She was afraid, and had faith.

Some might say she didn't have fear when she touched his robe. But I don't think that the idea that this is a scary thing to do, just popped into her head right after she did it.
I bet that whole time she was repeating to herself, "If I just touch His garments, I will be healed." that she was pretty seriously nervous.
Who knows all the fears she had to face down, just to get to where Jesus was. (I don't think he was in her living room. She had to go find him. And she would have none of the ease of modern day to do it. And none of the women's rights equality of today on her side.)

There really aren't any other stories about people in the bible that specifically say "they were afraid" when they did something in faith, but I think if we were to put ourselves into their shoes, or even just read between the lines of the story, it would be easy to assume they were afraid.
Abraham, Moses, Gideon, and Mary come right to my mind. 

It can be easy to read verses that say "Do not be afraid." and feel overwhelmed.

It can be easy to take this verse as a reprimand:

1 John 4:18 NIV

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

In the amplified Bible it says:
"he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]."

So that says to me the person who fears is a work in progress.
And so,
I think, that would apply to most of us.

I don't know if someone other than myself can see it 
(since I was the only one inside this moment),
But I can clearly see here on my face 
and peaceful faith, 
at the exact same time.

I just wanted to write this, incase anyone else was afraid, 
and wondering then, if they don't have faith.

God leads us through places than can be terrifying,
{Valley of the Shadow of Death}
but He is with us,
regardless of how we feel.
And if you have chosen to stick it out with Him, then you are in faith.

Psalm 34:5-7 (Complete Jewish Bible)

I sought Adonai, and he answered me;
he rescued me from everything I feared.
They looked to him and grew radiant;
their faces will never blush for shame.


  1. SO thankful that I found your blog yesterday. Don't even remember how, but I'm glad I did.
    I have processed this battle in my mind before - fear vs. faith. It becomes especially important to me when pregnant and when the time for giving birth comes close.
    Thank you for sharing so openly about your fears and the faith you have in our great God! He is more than enough for us. He is our ever present help in time of need.
    I look forward to reading more of your posts and putting some of your wisdom into practice - especially to help me stay healthy through pregnancy. Pretty sure I'm pregnant with #4 (baby #3 was lost to miscarriage in July). Still very early but praying and trusting God for His perfect will!

    1. Oh Thank you, Megan. I take such encouragement from hearing that you can relate to this. You will be on my heart in my prayers. I'll be hoping to hear exciting news from you. :)

  2. Thank you so, so much Lydia. I needed to hear exactly this today.
    I've been meaning to write you after reading your entry about how to have a healthy pregnancy. I had a traumatic first, and now in my second pregnancy knew I needed to do things differently. Every entry I've read had come at the prefect time. I'm following all your advice now on how to achieve a better pregnancy this time around. I had never heard of a prenatal chiropractor, but tracked one down and I love her. I'm staying much more active and eating a balanced diet (no sugar this time, compared to tons last time!). I'm getting a doula this time and probably going to get Hypnobabies. But I've been wondering if all this extra effort and expense (that we really can't afford) is showing a lack of faith on my part. I think I am definitely a work in progress. Last night my prayer was, "I trust you. Help me trust you." This is possibly the most terrifying season of life, the last trimester and delivery, especially after a difficult previous delivery. But our God is, as Megan said, our ever present help in times of need.

    1. Oh Kristi, Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I’m so, so happy to hear you’ve been able to get some help from my blogging. That makes my day. I know exactly what you mean about how you were feeling. I felt really guilty about the money we spend, while spending it, on stuff like the chiro and hyponbabies, but God provided what we needed and we didn’t miss the money in the end. And it made SUCH a enormous difference for my labor and delivery. And to be honest, even two years later it is making enormous differences in my heart. I’ve been healing from the trauma of giving birth the first time for four years now, and I’m very happy to say that I can feel my heart is almost there. God has been good and patient with me, and so so good to show me what I needed and to keep on leading me to new places and new things I need. I totally know that "I trust you, help me to trust you" feeling. I cried at least once a week (hard for hours) during my second pregnancy out of total terror. But I look back on that time now with such a happy heart because I see God’s hand now, when I couldn’t see it before. And that’s what faith is: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I get to see it now in hindsight. And so in that I just marvel on a nearly daily basis in the two years I’ve had seen that picture up there was taken. I’ll be praying for you. If you ever wanted to get in touch my email is 1lydiajohnson@gmail.com.


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