Staring out the backseat window, my daughter noticed a van in the next lane. I wondered why she cared about which cars shared the road with us. Questioning her further, I learned my 8-year-old daughter was afraid of dark vans.
When I was her age, I had the same irrational fear.
For me, it started with a Crime Stoppers commercial. I accidentally saw a piece on the news one night, about a store robbery and a couple of men pulling away in a big, black van. I couldn’t forget it. It changed my life, but not in any good ways.
Fear consumed my thoughts and ruined activities I previously enjoyed.
When a black van drove down our quiet, country road, I imagined a man would jump out and stuff me into the back. Or take my Mom away. Some days, it kept me from playing outside. I thought about it often, always measuring how far I was getting from my parents.
They tried coaching me through this fear and praying with me, after noticing changes in my behavior. But mostly, I didn’t speak my fears aloud. I kept them on the inside. Maybe this was the reason the enemy had a hold on me through fears, at such a young age.
When my fear of dark vans went away, other fears arrived, one after another.
The temptation to ponder my worries, cares, and fears rather than give them to the Lord has always been a great struggle for me.
1 Peter 5:7 (AKJV) says, “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” I would cast my cares on the Lord, but then reel them back in, holding them tightly in my own hands.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a believer in Jesus Christ, who can say with certainty, “I trust God for everything.” I’d rather not own this struggle with fears. But trust is an action verb, and sometimes, I do not trust.
Sometimes I hold my most precious possessions back from God, as if I have any control over them.
I’m still learning to trust the Lord completely, with my life’s most important pieces (or people).
Speaking of what’s most important in our lives, what are your greatest fears? Your answer will show you what you fail to entrust to the Lord.
Through seasons of life, our fears may shift. When I had babies of my own, and when they were no longer “safe” and warm inside me, my fears not only shifted. They metastasized. Maybe you can relate?
One of the greatest lessons I’ve been learning is the same truth I repeat to my own children night after night—
God is good, and we can trust Him.
We live in a scary world, and we hear of scary things happening to people around us all the time. In this world, where bad news abounds, we must battle for trust in God over fear.
I just finished Kelly Balarie’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, and this quote from page 53 wouldn’t let me go:
“Do you fear God—living life in awe, in anticipation, and in adventure? Not fearing Him in a way where you get all shaky and nervous and defensive, but in a way where God moves into position number one. In a way where He gets to stand above everything else you fear.”
When we give in to fear, it’s a lot like putting our faith in something other than God. Instead, may we trust in the all-powerful, cares-for-us, praise-worthy God Almighty.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in You.
whose word I praise—
in God I trust
and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4, NIV