By Guest Blogger Christopher Bourne
Fear…the ultimate robber of joy.
We’ve all experienced it from time to time, whether it is the short-lived, self-inflicted type on a 60-second roller coaster ride, or the kind that causes the body and even our minds to literally shut down on us. It usually starts with a single thought that we chew on for a few seconds and dismiss through a rational thought process or simply through prayer; but for some, it snowballs into a monster that rages out of control.
This kind of fear puts our faith to the ultimate test as it applies constant pressure to our every nerve.
I could find over 100 passages in the Bible that reference fear and instruct us to “Fear not.”
One of my favorites is found on my refrigerator door: ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10).
The challenge for people like me is how to put into action the wonderful words of God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s pretty easy to quote the Bible or recite words from modern day motivational speakers, but how do we REALLY conquer fear?
The only way I have experienced this is through constant prayer.
As I love God, He loves me back, as He always has.
Through this perfect love, fear has nothing to grip on to and one can begin to feel the peace that passes all understanding, even in the midst of crisis.
Like an oasis in a parched desert, God creates little havens for us to escape the arrows of evil. It provides hope for the weary soul, restoration to our minds and provides marrow to our brittle bones.
Having allowed myself to endure enough fear to last several lifetimes in my relatively short 44 years, I have reached points where I even sought counseling and temporary relief from anxiety medicines, but nothing worked better than my taking the initiative to strengthen my love and devotion to our Creator.
I’ve Got Your Back
A dear friend and counselor of mine used to tell me, “The Bible mentions putting on the Armor of God, and specifically mentions the different pieces of armor, such as the breast plate, but it never mentions a butt plate. That’s because with God, you never have to run from your enemy.”
As simple and humorous as this statement is, it’s also very powerful and I think of it often.
With God, all things are possible…including casting out the deepest fears.
A dear friend gave me advice to “offer up your suffering to the Lord for the intentions of others and get in front of the Blessed Sacrament often.”
These are things that seem so basic to our Catholic faith, but something I sorrowfully admit I wasn’t often doing. I will honestly say that I realized an amazing transformation as I began to do these things. More time praying and less time worrying. I have a long way to go, but through the Grace and Mercy of our Lord, He will lift us up as we give thanks and praise for the wonderful gift of life.
I will close with a recent experience I had during a break at work.
I went outside for a walk around a nearby pond to escape the stress of the day for a few minutes. As I reached the furthest and final turn on my walk, everything became perfect. The sky was a deep blue, there was a strong smell of pine coming from a cluster of spruce trees I was passing through, I could hear the water coming down from the fountain in the center of the pond and suddenly I was surrounded by a thousand orange butterflies. There were so many they were even bouncing off of me. Within 30 seconds, they were gone and the reality of the day came back to me as the building I work in became visible again.
Even though He is always with us, I felt that God was just saying “Hello” to me and let me experience His perfect love in the middle of my hectic day.
Fear not brothers and sisters. Cling to God like a child would tightly cling on to their parent.