Two weeks ago, Pastor Ben brought a message about fear and anxiety. The first thing that popped into my mind was a phrase, “Fear has torment.” 1 John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
This phrase is especially meaningful to me, as I went through an experience where I experienced the torment of fear. A number of years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The first thing I thought was “I am going to die.” I had two young sons at home who still needed my care. My heart ached with the thought that my husband was going to have to care for them on his own. I was just consumed with this fear. I wasn’t afraid to die, but I was concerned about my how they would manage without my care. (Kind of conceited thinking, as I reflect on that!!) I would try to evict the thoughts from my mind, but before I even realized what I was thinking, I was mulling that thought over again. I would try ad try not to think the tormenting thoughts. One Sunday morning as I was showering, the thoughts came flooding back. I finally cried out to the Lord, “I can’t take this any longer.” That morning in church the Lord spoke
1 John 4:18 to me. “There is no fear in love but perfect love casteth out fear. (KJV) and I realized that God’s love for me was so perfect that he was not going to allow anything to happen to me that was not part of his will for me. I could cast all my cares upon him, and trust him to do only what was best, even if that meant leaving this world. I knew that Scripture, but I had always thought it meant, I had to love God perfectly and I knew I was not capable of that.
I eventually learned that my cancer had been discovered in a very early stage and the doctors recommended surgery. Now all these years later, the common treatment is a lot different, but at that time the 98% cure rate sounded good, and my husband and I agreed to proceed with that treatment. I did not have to have chemo or radiation, and I have been 100% cancer free for all these years. And I have never again been tormented by that fear. I cannot love the Lord perfectly with my human nature, but His love for me is perfect and always will be.
We are told numerous times in Scripture to “fear not.” In these troubling times, this is a good command to follow. In spite of how troubling things look, God has everything in control. He is not blinded to what is going on, but will use everything to accomplish his good purpose. I realize those are easy words to say, and harder to experience but instead of using our finite reasoning, we should say “God, I don’t understand what is going on but I know I have an all-powerful God that will work everything according to his purpose.” Fear can be banished!!