#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.
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
‘Fearless’ is my “banner word” for the year. It’s the word that God’s specifically chosen for me for this year. I cannot begin to describe how accurate each banner word has been in the past. Last year my word was ‘hope’. Boy, did I need hope! Only God knows why He’s chosen ‘fearless’ for this year. At first, I had no idea what God was trying to tell me through Isaiah 54: 4 (NIV). I’ve gradually been experiencing an overwhelming sense of fear building the past few months. So, in my humility (ha!) I thought only the first four words applied to me (“Do not be afraid…”) and I dismissed the rest. I didn’t think I felt especially ashamed or humiliated or disgraced about anything. I didn’t think I need to pray for forgiveness for anything in particular. Despite having been a Christian most of my life, my attitude toward most of the verse was, “Nah, I’m good. Totally doesn’t apply to me.” (As I said, fountain of humility!) However, I forced myself to reread the verse and try to be open to what God was saying to me.
As I sat there reading this verse over and over again, I gradually began to feel my heart warm to God. I didn’t even realise it had turned a little cold toward Him. I gradually began to feel more comfort, more peace, more relief and more love than I’ve felt in a long time. After nearly a decade of living with a Chronic Illness, God hadn’t healed me. So, I gradually began to drift away from Him. In the process, I had shut down a part of myself and even though I could see God’s love, I felt it less and less. He felt so far away, but I knew it was my fault. I knew He was still there. A part of me just didn’t want to acknowledge it. I was fearful God would choose to never heal me this side of Heaven. I was fearful of still being in the same place (as a result of my physical limitations) twenty years from now when “the best years” of my life will supposedly be over. As I realised my fears I started to feel humbled. I also started to feel extremely ashamed. I’ve been sitting here for a little while now thinking about what I just wrote. Reality is sinking in. As I’m reading this verse again, the feelings of shame and disgrace are being eclipsed by an overwhelming feeling of acceptance, love, forgiveness and peace. It’s more than a feeling. It’s a knowing. I’m realising that (among other things) I was fearful of turning back to God. I’m ashamed to admit I was afraid of how He’d react. I knew in my head He’s merciful, kind and forgiving. I couldn’t feel it in my heart…and I take far too much stock of what I feel in my heart over what I know to be true. This I know to be true. His kind, reassuring, loving and gracious voice is speaking to the very depths of my soul again. He’s saying, “It’s okay. Do not be afraid, Little One. I forgive you. I will restore you. I will redeem you. Your sins are forgiven. They will not be held against you. You will remember your feelings of shame no more. Come.” I see His kind eyes gazing at me. His expression is full of compassion. He’s holding His hand out to me…and I feel no fear of judgement. No fear of condemnation. I no longer feel alone and I’m no longer fearful of being alone. I’m no longer fearful of what the future may hold. I feel trust. I feel reassurance. I feel joy. I feel an overwhelming sense of love, peace and acceptance. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. Regardless of whether or not God chooses to heal me, God is with me. I am with Him…and with Him, I am fearless.
Jacqueline Neumann is a student who lives in QLD, Australia. She owns more non-fiction books (e.g. biographies) than fiction books because she finds great consolation and encouragement in “real life” stories of people who have overcome.