Stepping Into the Unknown With Fear and Trusting Jesus Will Never Abandon Us

One of my favorite places to visit as a child was Island Park in a small town in NW Iowa. I remember the challenge of crossing the river on stepping-stones at the bottom of a waterfall.

A couple of steps were missing and left wide gaps of uncertainty. As I sat on a step and reached my bare toes underneath the water, I could still feel the missing step’s slimy, slippery foundation. Dare I step forward?

Sometimes I didn’t dare. Other times I risked it, but I soon changed my mind when I nearly slipped into the rushing water. However, there were also times I did brave it and got to the other side of the river with a shout of victory.

Sometimes a flood drowns out Island Park. The river rages and obliterates all traces of any steps at all. When devastating storms in our lives churn up chaos in our hearts, the way forward can get blinded by fear. What if we take the wrong step? What if we fail? What if we get hurt again?

When Peter walked on the water towards Jesus, he stepped out in blind faith. His eyes were fixed on Jesus, and he gave no thought to missing stepping-stones. But then his heart looked away from Jesus, and all he saw were the winds whipping up the waves to a frenzy. His courage crashed. And he sank in fear… Save me, Lord! (Matthew 14:22-34)

Jesus stretched out His hand and rescued him. Even though he doubted. And He will do the same for us, even when we become faint of heart. Jesus never holds our lack of trust against us. He rescues us anyway.

Our lives are like taking small steps of faith, aren’t they? Small steps, not without fear, but in spite of fear. Sometimes one step forward and two steps back, but still forward.

We don’t know what lies ahead of us in this world. As we reach our toes ahead into uncertainty, our hearts may tremble with fear. Sometimes we slip and slide and fall wounded. Sometimes fear sinks us when we lose our focus on our only hope in Jesus. In panic, we cry out to God.

Again and again, Jesus will grasp our hand with His hand of powerful, unfailing love, pull us up again, and give us the strength to go on. He’s got us in His firm grip, and He’s not going to let us go.

“If God hadn’t been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, ‘I’m slipping, I’m falling,’
Your love, GOD, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
You calmed me down and cheered me up.”
Psalm 94:17-19 MSG
“That’s right. Because I, your GOD,
have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
I’m right here to help you.'”
Isaiah 41:13 MSG
“When struck by fear,
I let go, depending securely upon You alone.”
Psalm 56:3 VOICE

“I Am Not Alone”
by Kari Jobe

 

Trusting God’s Faithful Care In the Midst of Heartache

good-shepherd-2
Art by Warner Sallman (1892-1968)

Do you see how the lamb is gazing so trustingly at Jesus and how lovingly Jesus holds and cares for the little one? We have an art print in our bedroom that has often aroused a prayer in me that I will trust Jesus so freely and fully.

good-shepherdEven though we have had this picture for years, and various aspects of it have ministered to me, something else struck home a few weeks ago. The sheep next to Jesus is also gazing so trustingly at Jesus. Perhaps it is her lamb He is holding. Another prayer bubbled up in my heart. Lord Jesus, please help me to trust You also for my children and grandchildren. Help me to truly leave them in Your hands of love and mercy.

It’s not that I haven’t prayed something like this before, but the meaning I saw in the picture captured my heart in a deeper way.

You see, sometimes I forget God is God. I forget His character of love, compassion, mercy, and power. I forget He reigns over all the earth, over every single human being. Not one hurt, heartache, or horror escapes His notice. It may not feel like it sometimes, but He is still in control on this earth. He is still in control of our loved ones’ hearts. He is still in control over every hurting soul.

“God is God. He sees and hears
all our troubles, all our tears.
Soul, forget not, in your pains,
God over all forever reigns.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

God knows all the burdens and messes in our hearts and our lives. Every single one. Not one tear escapes His notice. He cares so deeply that His loving, compassionate heart cries tears with us.

He can and will take every tangled, broken thread in our hearts, lives, families, nation, and world and make a beautiful design that glorifies Himself and benefits us. 

Thank You, God, for all Your goodness and faithful care over us, even when we resist Your ways and want our own way. Please help us to unload all our burdens and messes into Your powerful, ever-capable, merciful hands. Help us to trust You with the bigger picture that You have in mind. To believe Your plans are always for our greater good. Please help us to trust You with our families and friends, our nation, and every hurting, lonely heart in this whole wide world. It’s so hard, Lord, when You don’t move the mountains we long for You to move, but please help us to trust You no matter what. Please help us to rest in Your plan. Help us to believe that even when we can’t see You or feel You, You are still here with us and for us. You will never abandon us! May we cling to You and Your tender love!

serenity-prayer
“The Lord is my Shepherd;
I have all that I need.”
Psalm 23:1 NLT
“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray.
Pray about everything.
He longs to hear your requests,

so talk to God about your needs and
be thankful for what has come.

And know that the peace of God
(a peace that is beyond any
and all of our human understanding)

will stand watch over your hearts
and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.”
Philippians 4:6-7 Voice
“For I know the plans I have for you,”
says the Eternal,

“plans for peace, not evil,
to give you a future and hope

— never forget that.”
Jeremiah 29:11 Voice

A Child's Trust

“Trust In You”
by Lauren Daigle

trust
Little Birdie Blessings
May God Hold You and Yours
In the Palm of His Hand!Signature

My One Word for 2014

OneWord2014_Badge

This week I’m joining Bonnie Gray at Faith Barista for her JamWithMe Thursdays. Each Thursday she gives a writing prompt to challenge us to explore topics of faith. We can let the topic soak in our hearts and share our thoughts on the following Thursday.

holdinghand

What is your One Word for 2014?

 

“No, Daddy, I can’t do it. I’m too scared,” a little girl cries out from the end of a high diving board. She turns around to hurry back down the ladder.

Daddy calls from the water underneath, “Yes, you can do it! I’m right here watching you. I’ll help you. I won’t let you drown.”

Though still trembling, she takes a leap of faith. She believes her daddy will take care of her.

I long to have a trust like this for my Heavenly Daddy. As a child, I was afraid of my earthly daddy because of verbal and sexual abuse. Then later on as a youth, I thought I should be able to trust a minister, so I went to one for counseling. He hurt me even more deeply – spiritually, mentally, sexually. Then when I told the truth as an adult, several “friends” didn’t believe me and rejected me.

When trust has been shattered, it is so difficult to trust our hearts with anyone. But abuse in the name of God really messes up our belief in a Higher Power who will never hurt us.

I rarely talk about this distrust I have towards God, probably because I feel guilty that I don’t have enough faith or because I’m afraid I’ll be judged more. I try to trust, and by God’s grace I have come a long way, but too often I still close the door in His face. It’s amazing how much patience He has with me. Sometimes Jesus nudges me to quit resisting Him, to trust Him, and to lay my weary head on His shoulder, to trust His loving, tender, and safe embrace. He whispers, “I am always here for you, My child. No matter what you do or don’t do, I will always love you. No matter what happens in your life, I will always love you.” Then by moments, I can sigh with gratitude, but I still don’t relax enough to rest my head in His embrace.

I don’t feel like I let Jesus into the deepest vulnerabilities of my heart. I want to so much it hurts, but often I don’t. So this year I will prayerfully and purposefully focus on TRUST:

  1. Trust God – Allow myself to open up my heart fully and freely to Him. To trust Him with my vulnerability. Trust He has only holy, pure, and honorable intentions towards me. Trust Him as the Wonderful Counselor who will never use His Word to deceive me. Trust Him as a loving Daddy who cherishes me and will never hurt me with His words or actions. A Daddy who will always protect me and will catch me when I fall.
  2. Trust in Jesus’ healing power. He can heal those deep, painful vulnerabilities in my heart. He can take away my inadequacies and give me the power to fulfill dreams through Him.
  3. Trust I am God’s masterpiece and am enough just the way I am.
  4. Trust that God has gifted me with unique abilities that no one on this earth can fulfill besides me.
  5. Trust my own inner voice and instincts instead of letting past or present negative voices smother it.
  6. Trust that my words and thoughts do count and can make a positive difference in the lives of others.

 

“I will trust and not be afraid…” (Isaiah 12:2)