Fear in the Presence

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Fear in the Presence

By Grant Gaines

Some things go together ever so perfectly – peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, and of course, the Dallas Cowboys and the word “Super Bowl champions!” Of course, not everything can coexist in the same place at the same time. For example, I’m not so sure it’s possible for anyone to have a somber face in the presence of a smiling baby. I don’t know if a hot plate of fresh Tex-Mex can be placed before anyone without that person having the same drooling reaction that Pavlov’s dogs had when food was placed before them. And I’m not entirely certain that a Michael Jackson song can come on the radio without everyone in the car instantly being in a good mood. Some things just can’t go together.

In the same way that a sad face and a smiling baby cannot exist in the same place at the same time, neither can fear exist in the same place as the Lord’s presence. The two are like water and vinegar, two positive magnets, or like the light and the darkness – they have no business being together…ever.

This is simultaneously good news and bad news all at the same time. It’s good news because it means that if we are constantly inviting the Lord’s presence to be a part of our daily lives and consciously reminding ourselves of His nearness, fear is not permitted in our lives. However, it’s bad news (or perhaps using the phrase “scary news” might be a better fit) at the same time because if we do have fear in our life, what does that mean for God’s presence according to what was stated earlier? It can’t be there.

Of course, God’s presence through His Holy Spirit will never leave us (Ephesians 1:13-14), however, it is entirely possible to have His presence with us but not be aware of it at all. Much like how you can be so focused on reading this blog right now that you don’t even hear the white noise going on all around you. Take a moment to listen to all the sounds that are happening right now – the AC flowing through your vents, the cars driving by your window, the wind blowing against your house, or whatever else is making noise around you. Isn’t it crazy how you can completely block it out? But just because you block it out, does that mean it isn’t there? Of course, not! It’s still there, you’re just not affected by it.

The same could be said about God and fear – when we chose to focus on one, the other slips into the realm of white noise and we no longer notice it. What an incredible result we experience when we apply this simple but ground-breaking truth to our lives by focusing on God and watching our fears melt away in the rearview mirror.

God’s presence driving out the presence of fear is actually one of the most commonly repeated themes throughout the Bible. When Moses was afraid to talk to Pharaoh after being commissioned by the Lord to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, God relieved Moses’ fears not by providing an easy way out of the problem or declaring that Moses’ problems weren’t that big of a deal. Rather, the Lord comforted Moses by promising that His presence would be with Moses through the thick and thin (Exodus 3:11-12). The Lord did the same to the Israelites as they were preparing to go out to battle against the inhabitants of the Promised Land – “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you” (Deuteronomy 20:1, NIV).

Yet again, we see the Lord comforting Moses’ young aid, Joshua, at the beginning of Joshua’s time as Israel’s leader in Joshua 1:9 (NIV) – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Similarly, the Father comforted His children in Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) when they were in the midst of a tough season by saying, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

David took comfort knowing that the King of Kings was with him even in his toughest situations when he penned in his most famous psalm, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me…” (Psalm 23:4, ESV, bold mine).

God’s presence drives out fear because that’s what perfect love does – it drives out fear. “There is no fear in love for perfect love casts out all fear…” (1 John 4:18, NIV). As you focus your attention and gaze upon the Lord, your trying situations won’t magically disappear, but a shot of much needed hope and courage will appear in your heart.

What are you focusing on today: the Lord’s presence or the presence of fear?

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
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©Grant Gaines 2016


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