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 loves to sit with his wife by the bonfire and make up stories about Tom the Backyard-Badger for his three lovely daughters. When he's not carving up the Appalachian Mountains on his Salsa El Mariachi, you can find him busy writing a book, collaborating on a book, or reading a book written by someone dead and gone. Timothy studied beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis under theologian Alister McGrath. The author of five books, including Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society (Zondervan), Timothy is currently finishing The Life-Changing Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019), preparing his doctoral thesis for publication, and trying to find a publisher for his first novel The Tempest and the Bloom. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.