After 45 minutes listening to an interview with someone discussing the idea of “faith over fear” and her testimony, I encountered real fear.
The interviewee shared of loss due to cancer, her mother’s death and her own diagnosis from which she recovered.
She recalled those fears and the interviewer asked about her testimony. She laughed and shared her stable faith driven upbringing and the path towards believing in Jesus that seemed, some might say, a boring story.
I silenced the podcast as I took the main road when approaching the hill, a sedan cut it close at the curve and forced me to walk in the overgrown ditch.
I thought little of it, said to myself you shouldn’t be on the pavement, this is not a quiet road.
I walked on as the high weeds brushed above my ankles. Tired and almost home, I looked down to see my shirt wet with sweat and saw the waiting snake. The snake with the markings my daddy taught me, the snake with the metallic like tail raised up in the weeds. The snake with its eye focused on crossing the road.
I was scared.
And then I wasn’t.
I had not been struck by the car, the snake did not turn and strike me.
Later, I wrote my June Newsletter to include what I’m learning about fear and its part in my story. Read and if you’d like, subscribe here.
More than focused on what could have happened, I thought of how I’d been protected. I remembered what I was learning about fear in relation to faith.
This is progress for me. My husband had been so nonchalant, “But, you didn’t step on the snake, you are okay.”
I agreed to agree with him. I let the fear go.
Fear of everything has always been a theme in my story. Fear of catastrophe, of rejection by those I love, of illness. But, my story of redemption has no place for that old chapter, those old characters.
Which story will I choose?
Like being in the middle of a thick rope in a tug of war game, fear is strong with the brute force to pull me back. Redemption is a more strategically played strength, the pull more steady with necessary breaks and balance leads to a sustainable victory.
Redemption will win because it won’t wear itself out aggressively like fear that’s so angry, so unpredictable, so mean and devilish.
Fear is an emotion. Faith is a committed choice.
I woke this morning wondering why more of us aren’t telling our redemption stories, our testimonies. The timing is good. Our fear fighting redemption story may lessen another’s fear. The time is opportune for sharers and for listeners. Dare I say, our stories of Jesus are not only more important but more sustaining than yet another commentary on the virus or the heartache of societal unrest.
Fear is a distraction, these times are skilled at using it.
Dare I say that? I suppose I should be afraid. My faith says don’t be.
“Tell me the story of Jesus. Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that I’ve ever heard.” an old hymn
The woman in the podcast interview was raised in church, began to believe at church camp around age 11.
Me, at age 11 is a story I’d love to forget. My Jesus story, my testimony began when an elderly pastor told me, a new single mama, that all I had to do was ask for mercy, Jesus died for me and grace and forgiveness is a gift called salvation.
It was mine for the asking.
So, I asked and received.
I’ve never doubted God’s love for me through Jesus, only doubted I’d ever simply believe I deserve it. This is the never withdrawing pursuit of grace. I am redeemed because of it. God doesn’t see my struggle to believe, He simply sees my continued pursuit of a deeper belief and loving communion with Him.
I sent the newsletter last night never mentioning the reckless car or the rattlesnake. I could hardly believe it! A day spent focused on faith and choosing to fight off fear was ended with a walk at dusk and tangible fear.
But, I was kept safe. I am safe. I am here to tell the story of it.
More redemption stories must be mine to share.
Continue and believe.