#FEARLESS365 is a yearlong study of God’s commandment to us to live without fear. For 365 days, we will focus on one scripture and volunteers from all over the world will share their personal thoughts and what God has shared with them on the specific verse. For more info… go here.
“I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah 23:4, NKJV
As I a child I would snap awake, yet not awake, terrorized by a dream so real that I couldn’t displace it from reality. My heart pounded as I gasped for breath, and the dream gripped me tight. Each episode started and ended the same: I found myself in a windowless white room, and a black blob entered through the doorway and proceeded to grow and grow until there was no way out, no air to breathe, and I would be snap awake, yet not awake as I screamed.
As these episodes continued throughout adolescence and into early adulthood, I began to sense their impending arrival into my sleep. I could feel a black presence on the edges of my subconscious, and the only thing that staved the nightmare was a song about a trust in a sweet, sweet Jesus, and when I read about God placing a shepherd over me in Jeremiah 23:4, I think about my sweet, sweet Jesus and His peace that carried me through those nights when I feared the dream would overtake me.
Jesus is my good shepherd and He will lead me, guide me, provide me safe pasture, and keep me where I need to be, but I have to trust. I have to trust Him when the night is black and I’m about to be undone by an unwanted nightmare. I have to surrender to His leading when the way is dark and uncertain because it’s in the surrender and trust that I can truly experience the freedom from fear and dismay.
Fear either screams for attention or it’s a menacing, slithery presence in my heart. If left unchecked, fear speaks lies that I hear as truth. Fear tries to tell me that the Shepherd doesn’t care for me when He takes me through a mountain ravine with dangerously narrow paths, while all the while he leads me through on firm ground. Fear fills my mind with doubt about the Shepherd’s love for me when I’m faced, once again, with traps that could easily ensnare me, except I know my Shepherd will guide me past them. I’ve believed the fear that I have little, if nothing, to contribute to the body of Christ and that my ineptness will produce failure, but His truth tells me that in Him I have purpose.
The Shepherd cares for me and as I trust in His care, I fear no more, dismay no more, and am lost no more because I’ve allowed myself to be overcome by His love. When I’m tempted to dismay, I can choose to take steps of faith to follow where my Shepherd leads. And when I feel lost, I can believe I’m found by trusting His heart for me. But mostly, the fear no longer has power because I’m resting in the Shepherd’s care.
Will you be willing to be shepherded by Jesus? In Him, fear, dismay, and wandering is no more; in Him, peace, confidence, and security is found. Be found. Be loved. Be freed from your fear.
Jessica Van Roekel is a wife, mother, and worship leader who lives in Rural Lowa. She loves to participate in musicals in a local community theatre.