For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.
— Matthew 25:29

frozen by fear

I have had the pleasure of reading Barbara Crafton’s daily (almost)  EMO‘s for some time now.  Yesterday’s topic especially caught my attention at a potential turning point in my life.  I looked around for a good photograph to post with it and found another excellent blogger who has posted twice recently on this same theme and decided to share them all here.  

November 12, 2011

This is not a description of God’s unfairness.. It is not a description of what ought to be. It’s a description of what is — those who have more multiply their wealth much more easily than do those in the grip of poverty. Poor people have a hard time with risk: they live in an all-or-nothing world that little resembles the cushioned reality of those with more money. Reverses of fortune will come to everyone, but they will not be fatal to everyone. A rich entrepreneur may lose a larger amount in a risky endeavor gone bad, but the smaller amount a poor one loses may be all there is.

So grow while you can. Risk whenever you can bring yourself to do so. Be bold, even when everything in you trembles with fear at your own boldness. Commit to growing, for if you do not, you will surely shrink.

Misfortune makes us fear more misfortune. Instinctively, we contract. In every arena of human experience, the same: unlucky in love, we refuse to love again, and doom ourselves to a life of loneliness. Unemployed and unrewarded in the search for work, we yield to our discouragement and stop looking. Unable to control our eating, our drinking, our gambling, our shopping — we give up, turning our fate over to the demon of addiction who desires our death. Unable to endure our physical pain, we refuse the therapy that will help to vanquish it. It’s no use, we tell ourselves bitterly, and this feels like common sense.

This is not sin. It is just the way we are. It’s just our weakness — fear guts us. Boldness is in short supply when we’ve been hollowed out by brutal history, whether by our own hand or another’s. A power greater than our own is needed when we can’t seem to do anything but curl up in a ball and wait for the end, and the courage needed to call on that power is huge.

It is a courage beyond us. We’re fresh out of courage. But we’re not out of desperation — we have plenty of that. I’ve come to the end of my rope, we say. I am powerless. But if there is Anyone out there, come into me now. Stiffen me so I can stand again. Help me take the first step into my new life when the old one lies in shards around my feet.

My own lack of courage does not determine the sum of courage in the universe. Some of humanity’s greatest achievements arose from the ashes of defeat. God enters human history, powerful but silent, almost invisible — we look up in the darkness and see a glimmer of light.

Copyright © 2011 Barbara Crafton 

holding the course

September 13, 2011

We make decision every day.

Little ones and big ones. Some alter the course of a day, others the course of a lifetime.

Sometimes, when those decisions are made, people disagree. People judge. People don’t understand.

Not only do people oppose, but the enemy of our souls who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy, he too attacks right decisions, hoping we will waver, doubt, or change our minds.

When we take steps toward Christ, walking bit by bit down that narrow road, the enemy tries to hinder our progress. Make us slow our steady pace. Force us to stand frozen in fear. Better yet – cause us to turn around and head for the wider, easier road we passed before the last bend.

But when a decision is made with the best of intentions, for the purpose of a greater good, while following the leading the Spirit, we must stand firm … and take another step forward.

When doubts and opposition come, we must hold the course.

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. ~ Ephesians 6:13 (NASB)

 

when you just want to hide

September 16, 2011

Hiding is as old as the garden.

When Adam and Eve heard God walking in the cool of the day after they had eaten the forbidden fruit, they did what any of us would have done.

They hid.

In their shame, fear, and regret, they cowered behind fig leaves and hid themselves among the trees of the garden.

It has been there from the beginning, and mankind’s inclination to hide will endure until the end.

When the wrath of God comes, Revelation (6:15-17) predicts people will hide themselves in caves in an attempt to hide from the presence of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.

We see both generations – the one at the beginning of time and the one at the end – hiding themselves from the presence of God.

We do it too.

We who are in the middle also hide from the presence of God.

Perhaps you’ve never sewn fig leaves together to cover yourself or have hid in a cave among the mountains, but I’ll bet you hide in other ways. Perhaps it’s behind a mask of humour, or an illusion of perfectionism, or an image of yourself you project that may not accurately reflect the real you.

Our shame, fear, and regret prompt us to put on our best face and greet the world with a smile, regardless of the inner mess we may be in.

We may fool people but we will never fool God.

In reality, it’s His presence we are attempting to hide from. Ironically, He is the only One who can see the mess on the inside, and He calls us to lay it all before Him so He can transform it.

He makes beauty out of ashes.

Turns mourning into gladness.

Transforms despair into praise.

I wonder what would happen if we stopped hiding from God? If we took all of our mess – our inner insecurities, fear, inadequacies, mistakes and regrets – and brought them straight to the throne, poured them out at His feet, and said, There it is Lord. Now transform me.

There is freedom in this.

Hiding forces us in closed, cramped, dark places. Coming into the Light is freeing, spacious, and illuminating.

Free to be who God has called us to be.

Free to admit our mistakes and walk on from them.

Free to choose love instead of fear.

What is your fig leaf? What are you hiding behind? What are you hiding from?

When you hear God walking in the stillness of your life, take courage and step out from among the shadows. He knows your heart and He loves you.

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