Friday, January 14, 2011

Holy Fear or How Painful is 'Best'?

Surfing the blogs I follow I discovered a C.S. Lewis quote posted on The Write Track, that puts into words my personal holy fear.

“We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” C.S. Lewis

Without a doubt I feel God’s love and guidance in my life. Without a doubt I know he wants the best for me. Without a doubt I want to be an active, useful agent of His kingdom.

I know that God has to live in me to make this happen. I know that means I need/will change from my sinful self. I know that change often comes by way of fire. 1 Peter 1:7-9 (NIV) expresses my feelings perfectly:

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

But honestly . . . I’m afraid of the fire! You don’t have to live long in the faith to recognize that God changes hearts in the worst of conditions and, understandably, those conditions often exist because of our own selfish decisions. As I purposely seek God I am truly hoping that the days of refinement by fire are fading, wishful thinking perhaps, but the truth none-the-less.

I wonder, also, how painful will God’s best be for my son? He knows the Bible stories, he’s accepted my faith, he’s professed Christ as his savior but he is becoming a young adult. He’s begun to question me, he surely will question God. If his salvation is sincere God will mold him into the person that is best. I know that process will certainly be painful. As a parent I cannot deny my fear for him.

Coming to an understanding of God's best for us is continued spiritual growth. Working through, or guiding someone through, the pain is part of the refining process; seeking God and finding him in the midst is the treasured end result.

This could be a good reason that the phrase “Be not afraid” is spoken often in the Bible. Fear is of our own making and the reasons to be fearful are our own but if we are truly seeking after God’s will, for us and for our loved ones, we need not fear.

I want the best that God wants for me, and those I love, even knowing it will likely include some pain to reach it.  Along the way I'll do my 'best' not to be afraid. 


  1. Amen! I too want what God wants for me but the pain we go through to do that is really difficult sometimes but at least I know HE is with me as I go through it.

  2. Terri, that understanding is the key, knowing that He will see us through. The alternative is that we made the mess, we are alone in it and there is no guarantee of a possible 'good' in the end.

  3. I like this quote; it sums up my challenges at times. I think if we step back and look at the bigger picture it seems less daunting perhaps. And if we keep our eyes on Him, knowing He knows best, we are in better shape. :)

  4. A good point, Karen. We often cannot get past our own situation but if we look at the bigger picture we may have a better understanding.

  5. I was a sophomore in college taking a tennis/badminton course that came close to being a disaster for this straight A student! I couldn't hit a ball/shuttle cock to save my soul!! It was then that "Fear not...only believe" became my motto. As the flying target came near me, I would whisper, "Fear not...only believe!" and whoop up the target flew. If I forgot to whisper my motto it was assured the racket and target would never meet! My motto and the good Lord helped me to pass that silly PhysEd requirement to my amazement!! What I didn't realize at the time was the simple lesson of faith God was teaching me as He gave me a motto to get me through some of the darkest years of my life...losing 5 family members within 32 months, beginning with my mother and ending with my father!
    I'm so glad that my parents instilled my faith in God at an early age as it got me through the firey times! As a young twenty-something I learned my faith in Him was more precious than I ever, EVER realized and more fulfilling than the cheap counterfeits my peers were chasing!
    That same "Fear not...only believe" faith has made me a tad more gutsy than most. As a single gal I left my nice paying job with superb benefits to be my own boss. It's now been seven and half years and I've never been in lack and my name travels before me! I actually have to turn down business during my busy seasons!
    I know troubles and trials may come my way...but I also know my Heavenly Father is with me step by step. As long as He is by my side I can get through anything! It also makes the Serenity Prayer that much sweeter! (I love the second verse!)
    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.

    Thus whatever my lot, He has taught me to say, "It is well with my soul!"

    So fear NOT my friend...only BELIEVE!!!!

  6. Libby, you are an inspiration.