A meditation on:
"... I'm not afraid when you walk at my side." (Ps. 23:4, The Message)
I like to say, "I don't fear much." And that might be true on the surface. But when I get myself quiet and honest I find there are pockets of fear that rise from shadowy places.
I fear not being a good husband. I fear I mess up too much as a father. I fear mediocrity in my career. I fear my pride, and how I often let it push me away from the people that I love. I fear letting friends down.
When I survey the innerscape (my word for the landscape of my soul), I find valleys of the deathly shadows that too often go ignored. What prompts these shadows of fear?
Reaching For Jesus
Fear stays as it is as long as we ignore it. Fear grows the longer I try to beat it on my own. But if I can just muster the strength to admit I am weak. If I can just muster the honesty to say, "Oh God, heal my bleeding." Then something in me begins to grow.
My friend Sarah Hagerty describes the act of the bleeding woman who reached out for Jesus as her "weak reach." That image is beautiful in the frailest of ways. It speaks of desperate need. It bellows of belief. It shouts of transparency. It whispers of honesty.
How can I can bring myself to do that? Am I willing to humiliate myself before the crowd and let Jesus feel my weak reach?
Fear dies in the beauty of my weak reach.
Overcoming With Jesus
God made us not to wallow, but to overcome. He gives us his voice, if only we would listen. He gives us his strength if only we reach.
Beyond the reach life blooms. Fears dissipate. Not because we are fearless. But because we're honest enough to say we're fearful.
In my weak reach my innerscape fears become miracles of healing. I am the dad who learns. I am the writer who keeps on. I am the husband who understands dying. I am not afraid.
Walking With Jesus
When I stray, fear snakes in. But when I keep to the path and hold tight to Jesus's hand, the wonders of faith become real. For ...
"Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure."
"Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life."
"Who would dare tangle with me?" For I am a son of God.
"Nothing can get between me and God's love."
I am not fazed by the treachery of life. The everydayness looks heavenly when I cling to my Shepherd's crook. It begins with the honesty of a weak reach. A decision to stay and not stray. A decision to look for glory when fear paints everything black. For I am the bleeding one no longer. I am an overcomer. And I am not afraid.
A Devotional Resource For You, From Me
Recommended Food For Thought
Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.