“Let’s not let fear stop us from being the good news to a world desperate to be known by God’s love.” – Shannan Martin, Falling Free.
A few weeks ago, I asked my husband if he ever had fears for our children. “Not really,” was his reply. I looked at him in awe and a no little jealousy and admitted that I was full of fears. While he wasn’t scared of much, I admitted to walking around with, at best, a low-level of anxiety on their behalf most of the time. And that’s on a good day. On a bad day, the fear blinds me to anything else.
I discovered Shannan Martin’s blog several months ago. Her story is fascinating and it’s challenged my fears in the best ways. Through some unexpected life changes, they were challenged to look again at their dreams. They had made all the safe and easy choices and felt like they were missing something. They opened their hands and asked God to help them see the world the way he does and it changed everything.
I’ve finished her book, Falling Free, and have pages of quotes I’ve copied from it. Most of them are about fear.
“The irony is, not only are we hesitant to allow our kids to live in the world, on mission, we’re also eager to use them as prime scapegoats for our own bailout.”
“We elevate our families above God’s divine plan to heal humanity through his glory, but we are fooling ourselves when we believe we can rubber stamp a guarantee of protection and provision across their lives. . .”
“. . . if we want to see his goodness, we’ve got to drop our torn-up nets and follow him even as the bile rises in our throats and people snicker.”
If you’re thinking this is another book that is written to make you feel guilty for having nice things, you’re wrong. This is not a formulaic, prescriptive narrative. It’s simply the story of what happened when the Martins asked to see the world through God’s eyes and a challenge for us to do the same. It will cause you to look again at your idea of hospitality, generosity, church and loving your neighbors.
I’ve been thinking about my fears for my kids. One of my favorite books is The Pursuit Of God by A.W. Tozer. In that book, there is a chapter called The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing. It’s about Abraham and Isaac and how God asked Abraham to be willing to sacrifice him. I’ve had this part underlined for over two decades:
“We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.”
It seems God wants to remind me that my idea of safety is not the same as His. Honestly, I’ve held back from truly loving my neighbors because I’m not sure of how this would impact my kids. Isn’t it ironic that I would think my children would be better off in my vice-grip than in the hands of the God of the universe? Maybe you need the reminder that our dearest treasures are safest in His hand and not your own. I know I did.