“Beyond” is a common word in my life. Beyond the pain. Beyond the joy. Beyond the here and now. Remembering that there is more to life than what meets the eye encourages us not to get too bogged down with the less-than-joyous things about this life. But when it comes to getting bogged down, fear is among the top culprits. Fear of the unknown. Fear of heartbreak. Fear of disappointment. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of damnation. Fear of more things than words can articulate. In a certain sense our response to fear can often be to simply go beyond it. We shove fear away because fear often comes from a lack of trust. Lest it appear that we don’t trust God, we bury the fear and cling to Him, but is that the best response?
Oh sure, it seems like the “good Christian” response to move beyond the fear, but is that really what God is calling us to? Or, perhaps, is the fear there for a reason? Ultimately I think fear leads to two reactions in us: drawing closer to God or running further from Him. The path to those two reactions varies. When we bury the fear, when we run to Him at the first sight of fear, we end up closer to Him, but only because fear leads us there. That isn’t a bad thing, but it could be better.
Instead of running to Him in our fears, we have the opportunity to invite Him into our fears. Lord, I need You here. I need You in my fear. Enlighten this fear, show me the cause of it. Instead of running we can invite Him into our scariest places. He comes to be with us, to sit with us in our fear and shed His light in our darkness. I’m lost in the fear and I can’t see the way out. I can’t see the cause of it, show me what needs healing in my life so that this fear may be dispelled. Rather that running to Him out of fear, we run to Him with our fear because we trust that He is the only one who knows our hearts. Instead of burying the fear, we acknowledge it and ask God to bring His healing to us. Lord, move in this fear so that Your love can move me beyond the fear into Your peaceful presence.
If we follow this path, if we invite Him into our fear, then fear has a purpose that we often overlook. Satan often uses fear to draw us away from God, but as we already know, God uses everything for His good, even our fears. Knowing that, we see that our fears actually draw us closer to Him when we ask for His guidance to move beyond the fear. By inviting Him into our fear rather than burying it, we look within ourselves and find Him, moving and working. We don’t brush the fear under the rug or ignore it, leaving it to bubble and grow. Rather, we ask God to come with His light, moving in the fear, thus moving us beyond the fear to His perfect love, which drives out fear.