As a teenager, I was plagued by fear. I was lost in a world of drugs and barely able to sleep. When I did manage to doze off, horrific bloody nightmares invaded my heart and mind. My life was an agonizing testimony of what the apostle John wrote: “fear has torment” (1 John 4:18).
And no wonder. What input was I feeding my mind with? Movies filled with violence and fear. Music inspired by Satan, the enslaving father of lies. News and chatter parroting his lies and imprisoning fear.
When I finally started reading about Jesus in the Bible, I cried out to him, “Lord, I believe.” I clung to his promise, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
I rejoiced to plant his Word of truth in my heart. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). As I continued to read His Word and share it with others, fear melted away, and I began to walk in the Lord’s power and love. The world’s insanity in my mind faded in the light of the truth that I fed upon.
Now I had a new “problem” with sleep. As I drifted into peaceful slumber each night, I couldn’t wait to wake up and praise my God in the morning!
I can’t say that life has totally been a bowl of cherries since then, but as I look back, it has always come down to one thing—sowing and reaping. What am I feeding my mind and heart with? Words and images that seize my heart with fear? Or faith?
And now, in this COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve got a lot of time on our hands. We have a lot of choices of what to watch and listen to.
I’ve been blessed and excited, watching and listening to Bible teachings and programs that lift my spirit. I find that I need to limit my news input—getting enough to stay abreast of what’s going on, but not to the point of letting fear pierce my heart.
I believe that Jesus has wise words for us at this time. “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given” (Mark 4:24).
What “measure” do we give to what we listen to? Obviously, we will listen to whatever we place the highest value on—personal entertainment, worrisome news in the media, or Truth that makes us free.
Truth is a person, and his name is Jesus. I remember when I first read his words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). I thought, Either this guy was the greatest conman to ever walk the earth, or he was telling the truth! I decided to believe him.
Since then, life has never been the same. When the storms of life rage, like divorce, Hurricane Michael, and now a pandemic, they can shake me, but they don’t have the power to knock me off my foundation. God promises, “For you who love me, when you call upon me, I will answer. I will be with you in trouble. I will deliver you and honor you” (Psalm 91:14-15).
When I am shaken, it’s not always easy to read and listen to the Bible. I might even feel like He’s far away from me. But I put those feelings away and feed upon His Word anyway. He hasn’t called us to follow Him perfectly. All He wants is for us to know how much He loves us unconditionally. And the only way we can know that is by paying attention to what we value, to what we listen to. When we choose His Truth, He will give us an understanding of His great love for us.
God is faithful to His promises. He restored my marriage, He’s provided for our hurricane restoration, and His love continues to cast fear from my heart.
We always have a choice in determining our harvest. If we sow God’s Word of truth in our hearts, we will reap His fruit.
We all have a decision to make at any time during these days of uncertainty. Will I value the words of those who don’t really have any answers, or will I treasure the One who has all the answers? I pray that you choose the latter and that you will come to understand His great love for YOU. You can call upon Him, and He will answer.