Fear & Discernment #2

Hi all,

One of the blessings of having an adult son who is mentally 4 years old but loves Jesus, is that Chris is as much aware of the Lord in his life and his future in heaven as he is the natural world. Chris’ best friend in the group home is Frankie, the daughter of a missionary couple who have chosen to continue their missionary work in Africa, and as a result only see Frankie a couple of times each year.

Barb is a brunette like Frankie’s mom, and about the same size. As a result, when Barb and I pick up or drop off Chris, or go to the group home for planning meetings or to bring new clothes or bath supplies for Chris, Frankie latches on to Barb with long hugs – I mean easily 2 or 3 minutes long, clinging to Barb, often with tears in her eyes, (and Barb’s) as Frankie longs for her mother. It’s hard on Barb too as she knows she is merely a surrogate figure of her mom, and is powerless to help Frankie’s sorrowful longing.

Many times we’ve been there when Chris will roll up in his wheelchair, gently grab and hold Frankie’s hand, and say tenderly yet with certainty, “It’s OK Frankie, Jesus is with us, it’s OK Frankie, Jesus is here.” At those words Frankie shakes her head in agreement as it lies on Barb’s shoulder, and draws back, drying her eyes. Chris’ words having the affect of bringing Frankie out of her grief, back to being aware of His presence in her life.

Jairus and beyond

When Jesus told Jairus, ‘Don’t be put to flight in fear, but just believe’, His words had the same affect on Jairus as Chris’ words do on Frankie. It shakes the focus away from the fear and tragedy in their lives and redirects their attention to the higher but invisible truth of faith and peace.

Faith is our response to a personal and internal revelation. Noah received a revelation a flood was coming, his response was to build a boat – faith being the response to revelation. Moses received revelation to go to Egypt, his response of going was faith.

Faith is unseen so we must purposely redirect our attention to the revelation and peace down in our spirits when confronted in the natural with circumstances screaming fear.

So Jairus had to be redirected to focus on his original revelation and faith that arose out of that revelation, that if Jesus came and laid hands on her, his daughter would be OK. We have to be willing to forsake fear in favor of the revelation of peace, and then back that up with disciplined thoughts that refuse to entertain the possibilities fear presents. That’s one reason Jesus allowed no one to follow them and pushed the unbelieving mourners out the door. He wanted Jairus focused on faith and peace, not fear.

A revelation from the Father is grace – He didn’t have to show us that thing, speak to us, nor give us that peace assuring us all will be OK – He does these things because He is good. Our response is faith.

Example #2, Walking on water

Jesus walking on water is recorded in 3 of the 4 gospels, and each records a different perspective of the same event: Matthew 14: 22-32; Mark 6:45-52; John 6: 19-21.

Most translations try to help Gentile readers by providing a watered down translation where Jewish terms are used. Here is a prime example. Most Bibles translate the conversation between Jesus and Peter something like this as Jesus approaches the boat: “Take courage; It is I; don’t be afraid”. Then Peter replies, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”

Jesus actually said, “Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid!” And Peter responds, “Lord, if you are, command me to come to you on the water!”

I AM is the name of the One who spoke to Moses from the burning bush in Exodus 3:14, so when Jesus told the men He was I AM, the One who spoke to Moses, Peter challenged Him to prove it. “Lord, if you are, command me to come to you on the water!” Immediately of course, Jesus extended the invitation. (For more on I AM, listen to my series ‘I AM; Who Jesus Is and Where He Came From)

Fear is met by revelation

Jesus issued the same command of ‘fear not, meaning ‘Don’t be put to flight’ here as He did to Jairus. This time however instead of fighting fear by recalling earlier faith and promises, fear is met by proof that Jesus is I AM.

This is the point of this second example - another way to keep emotions in control, to not be put to flight in fear, is to allow the fact Jesus is God to dominate your situation – He is in control even with the wind and waves roiling all around – you can still walk on the water as long as you keep Him in view and the truth He is I AM in the forefront of your mind. Take a step back and realize Who you have, and Who is in control.

When Peter forgot Who he was dealing with and got distracted by the storm, he began to sink. Even then, once refocused, Jesus extended His hand to pull him up and they both walked on the water back to the boat.

You can do the same – keep in mind Jesus is God. So what if the storm rages, walk out on the water in the middle of the storm – you are safe when moved by revelation of who Jesus is, and what He has commanded you to do – don’t walk on water of your own initiative (presumption), but if extended an invitation, walk on!

Lost child

Peter was afraid when he focused on the storm, thus fear is also revelation, but it is a revelation of circumstances in the natural realm of present or future doom. Fear can also bring a spirit that attaches itself to circumstances. For instance, when our youngest son Brian was about 5 years old, he went missing after a church service. There is room for natural fear when a child goes missing, but there is more room for I AM.

I was the pastor of a church in SE Colorado, and we were renting an old grocery store at the time. With everybody gone from the building and our son still missing, we searched all over the building and outside, calling his name over and over again.

Fear set in – Barb as you can imagine was panic-stricken. She looked to me for direction, and I in turn switched my attention from the very fearful circumstances to my spirit, and there I found peace. I told her, “He is OK, and we’ll find him, but I don’t know where he is.” Imaginations of him being abducted and abused or killed started to swirl in our minds, but we put them down, taking all our mental strength to stay focused on the peace in our spirits.

We had to get Chris and Jason home

He wasn’t around the surrounding streets or neighbors, so we went home. It was SO hard leaving the church building not knowing where our 5 year old was. I had to redirect Barb away from ‘scared mom’ mode to the peace in her spirit, and it calmed her down considerably….still, we had to consider ‘what do we do now?’ and involving the police – yet we had such peace. About 10 minutes after arriving home the phone rang. Brian, and his buddy about his age, thinking he would play a trick on mom and dad, decided to crawl into the back of his buddy’s family van and go home with them.

They had all arrived home and had gone inside, leaving Brian in a hot van for several minutes before his little friend told his parents Brian was in the van, which led to the phone call.

Were it not for the peace in our spirits that we made ourselves listen to and made our emotions submit to that peace, we would have been overwrought with fear that whole time. If we were so inclined, a spirit of fear could have attached itself to the natural fear, and tormented us even after Brian was discovered to be fine.

That spirit would have had us play it over and over in our minds, and being fear, is all about the future and would have painted a picture in our minds of future abductions with tragic results. It could have tormented us years in the future with thoughts about the other boys and images of future kidnappings and such. We never let it get to that, meeting natural fear with the supernatural peace in our spirits, and letting that dominate our emotions.

I think Brian still remembers the ‘talking to’ he got once we picked him up from our friends.

It all ties back to meeting circumstances of fear with the faith of a child, as Chris does; It’s OK, Jesus is with us. Jesus is here.

More next week, blessings,

John Fenn

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