[su_dropcap style=”flat”]F[/su_dropcap]ADED PHOTOGRAPHS, covered now with lines and creases, tickets torn in half, memories in bits and pieces …Does anyone remember that song “Traces” from the 60s sung by The Classics IV? That has to be one of the saddest love songs every written. At age 15 the ballad is soulful, 45 years later it’s haunting. I was reading over the running list of prayer requests yesterday and realized how many of them were due to painful loss or fear of loss. Say the word fear and someone will jump in and offer what is now cliché. “Let your faith be bigger than your fear.” Yeh, I get that and I get that there are at least 365 verses in the Bible telling us to, “fear not”. In fact did you know the words ‘fear not’ are spoken more often than either ‘love’ or ‘faith’? Fear is real and we all experience it. Sometimes the moments of our day are tinged with fear, even though it may be undetectable to others. We put on our happy face and that’s what we show to our friends because that’s how we roll.
When we fear losing something we have or someone we love, does it seem like fading photographs? Fear is part of our authentic selves – we engage – we actively pursue those other words, ‘love’ and ‘faith’ because we hang onto what is and we know our faith will be tested in loss. Maybe you can relate to the children of Israel who lived precarious lives wandering in the desert without hope of getting back to their favored lives. They lived in constant regret and fear of more loss. Deuteronomy 28:66-67 “Your life will hang in doubt before you; you will be terrified by night and day and will have no certainty of surviving from one day to the next. In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ And in the evening you will say, ‘I wish it were morning!’ because of the things you will fear and the things you will see.” Authentic, paralyzing fear.
Think about fear. When you fear, do you pray right away, or do you try to fix it yourself? That’s got my name all over it. I’m an analytical and sometimes I should really try to remember what God says in Joshua 1:9 “This is my command: be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Do you call in the reinforcements from friends who pray? I do. Psalm 10:17 encourages us, “Lord, you have heard the request of the oppressed; you make them feel secure because you listen to their prayer.”
We can’t stop the photographs from fading. We are absorbed in fear as we watch a loved one pass into their eternal home or hold the hand of a friend going through unbearable trials. We long to see the desires of our heart fulfilled and wonder at the reality of distant dreams. Let’s remember Psalm 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God. You are patient and demonstrate great loyal love and faithfulness.”
Go to the spiritual filling station and ask God to fuel your attitude with grace and secure your mind with His thoughts. Believe what it says in 1 Peter 3:11 “Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”
Do you have an expanding prayer journal? I know how that is. Sometimes people ask me to pray about something and I never know how God answered. Do you pray for people who are living with fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of fading photographs and memories torn in bits and pieces? There is only one solution and that’s taking all those fears, bundling them up, and laying them at the feet of Jesus.
Lord, God, Jehovah-Elohim, you are sovereign; you are the blessed controller of all things. I can do my part and be faithful and trust in you, but I can’t fix any of this. I give all these worries to you, because I can do nothing with them. They are wearing me out and I know that’s not pleasing to you. Give me the courage to turn them over to you, and please give me the strength to leave them there. I love you, Lord. Thank you for loving me back. Amen