This is the thought that crossed my mind in the wee hours of the morning. I woke up way too early and was having trouble falling back to sleep and this is where my thoughts took me.
I don’t always trust those wee hour/middle-of-the-night thoughts. Sometimes I remember them, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes they are the result of eating something I shouldn’t, way too close to bedtime and they are crazy. But sometimes, they are coherent and even helpful. Sometimes it’s the Holy Spirit’s whisper to my soul culminating thoughts that come from a resting in Him. And oftentimes they come when they are least expected.
In this case, the night before, right before bed I was scrolling through my FaceBook feed and I came across an article about the recent killing of a terrorist by an elite group of the American military. The article was not so much about the mission as it was in the name of the mission. It was named Operation Mueller after Kayla Mueller, a 26-year-old American who was serving with Doctors Without Borders. She was tortured and killed by this terrorist for not renouncing her faith in Christ. And so to honor her, the mission was named for her.
The article profoundly moved me to tears. Minutes after I finished reading it, our 15-year-old daughter walked into the room. I was struck. I was overwhelmed. I thought that could easily be one of our girls one day. I hugged her. Our precious daughter. Overwhelmed with grief and prayers for her parents, in awe of her steadfastness under this horrific trial. With tears and prayers, I went to sleep. But my thoughts were of this young 26-year-old girl and her courage and of her parents and their grief.
You see, I struggle with fear. I guess we all do to a certain extent. Many of my fears are never realized and many of my fears are unrealistic. Fear isn’t always logical. I haven’t ever had anything really to fear. Not in comparison to Kayla Mueller, anyway. But here it is, I struggle with it anyway.
And I struggle to think that God loves me. Really loves ME. How could He? I know my own sin struggles and He knows them and me better than I do. He knows me perfectly, much better than I know myself. But y’all, I have to believe that He loves me. I have to remind myself of this. Because that’s the Gospel.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17
So from my reading, to my sleeping, my unconscious thoughts, to my conscious thoughts, my Father gave me this truthful thought-“Love is the antidote to fear.”
Or to put is scripturally, which was my next thought, “perfect love casts out fear.”
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. – 1 John 4:13-21 (emphasis mine)
So as my conscious thoughts became clearer, my thoughts shifted back to Kayla. How could she endure such torture? Was she just naturally courageous? I don’t know. But I tend to think this, she just really understood that her Heavenly Father loved Her. I am sure she was fearful in her situation. But what gave her the confidence to face her fear, her terror, was not an innate courageousness. It was LOVE. Undeserved, unearned, faithful, steadfast, immovable, unchangeable, determined, overwhelming, sacrificial love of God, her father through His only Son, Jesus.
So as I think about addressing my fears, instead of trying to muster up courage, I should dwell on the love my Father has for me. The same love he has for Kayla. The same love He has for all His children.
In the last letter she wrote to her parents, she said this,
I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God,” Mueller wrote. “I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator because literally there was no else. by God by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in free-fall…I have been shown in darkness, light and have have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful.
Love is the antidote to fear.