In the Shelter of God’s Peace

1John 4:18(NLT) tells us, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” This is an amazing verse! It should motivate us to plumb the depths of its extraordinary revelation, but as a lonely young woman that had known much fear in my life, love without fear was elusive to me. I thought the two came as a packaged deal. Not appropriately cataloging love and fear as polar opposites, of course I both consciously, and no doubt subconsciously, assumed chaos and confusion were love’s companions as well. With all the relationship mishaps and missteps that were spun from my ignorance, I’m incredibly thankful that God saved me from myself, and guided and schooled me to know love’s way.

There was a big ol’ hole in my heart, and I had no idea what to do with the emptiness. I didn’t know why it was there, but it drove me to make impetuous choices and decisions. I could have ended up with some pretty horrendous consequences on my hands, but Heavenly Father had different plans for me. It wasn’t that I was so special, but that’s the overwhelming goodness about His love; It makes us all feel as though we’re being individually singled out and lavished in His attention and care.

As I became more acquainted with God and began reading His Word, the revelation of 1John 4:18 began to take root. It came at just the right time, because I was beginning to become bitter about the loneliness I felt. So much seemed to be missing in my life, and I quite naturally thought that God was going to have to do something really gargantuan to fill up my empty spaces and turn my blues into sunshine. That’s where I set my sights; not on God’s love, but on receiving something tangible and grand.

In my naiveté, the image of His perfect love expelling all fear meant that He would automatically and expeditiously obliterate all vestiges of it in my soul, and all I had to do was focus on how happy I’d be when the right man would finally come in and sweep me off my feet. In my mind, this would be the answer to my fear and emptiness. Well, as God would have it, the right man came along, but he didn’t do any sweeping. He put the broom in my hand and said, “Let’s work it out, together.” I didn’t like that.

I totally lost it, and gave new meaning to the term ‘adult temper tantrums’. I didn’t know what to do with myself, but there he was, this man sent from Heavenly Father to partner with me through all my baggage. Yet, my emptiness was still this gaping hole. So, I went to God with my complaints about how He’d blessed me with something that wasn’t exactly what I wanted. Sure, it was what I needed, but it—he—didn’t take away the fear. It was still there. It was the hole inside my soul, and for years I didn’t know its name.

I panicked big time, because somewhere inside, I knew that my destiny was unfolding, but nothing about it looked the way I thought it would. I was about to lose everything, and I needed peace desperately. I needed to grab on to it and never let it go. That became the theme of my prayer life, to be guided by God’s peace.

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) says “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”  God wants this to be a reality in our lives. He wants to give us His peace, but we must have a willingness to surrender our fears and anxiety to Him as well. 1Peter 5:7(NLT) tells us, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”  All of us have issues, some more complicated than others, and we have to work through them. It’s sometimes a lengthy process, because fear has a way of making itself cozy, but God has placed His Spirit inside us. He will lovingly guide us to release our fears in the shelter of God’s peace.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“In the Shelter of God’s Peace” written for Copyright ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

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