A long-planned vacation? A family reunion or wedding? A conference or get-away weekend? A new season signifying a new beginning? I have a few things I'm anticipating. Visits with my children and my growing grandkids always top the list. Then, there’s planting a variety of vegetables and flowers in the yard, attending a writers’ conference, and even spending a few quiet evenings with friends or with a good book.
On the other hand, what are you dreading?
I'll be honest with you. At times, I find myself dreading quite a list of things. Things like managing a challenging relationship or tackling necessary paperwork or learning to navigate new technology. My conscientious side fears hurting those I love or making a mistake when it seems I'm feeling my way in the dark. And I don't look forward to facing health issues and growing older--alone.
I'm learning that dread and trust are at opposite ends of the spectrum. If I'm dreading, even in the ordinary things, can I truly be trusting the God who promises to walk beside me as my refuge and strength through both the big and little challenges?
We’re not alone in this tug-of-war between dread and trust. Way back in the days when the Hebrew people finally camped on the brink of the Promised Land, Moses spoke these words, "Dread not, neither be afraid . . . The Lord your God Who goes before you, He will fight for you . . . Yet in spite of this word [the people] did not believe (trust, rely on, and remain steadfast to) the Lord [their] God" (Deuteronomy 1:29-30, 32 AMPC). As a consequence of their unbelief, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years instead of enjoying the blessings God had planned for them.
Lately, I've been challenged by the apostle John's reminder to "practice the truth" (1 John 1:6). The truth that God invites us to come to the throne of grace to ask for wisdom. The truth that He will never leave us or forsake us. The truth that He has a purposeful plan for our lives and will guide us every step of the way.
Throughout the past months, over and over, God has given me every reason to trust Him. These evidences of His power and involvement in my life serve as monuments to help me remember and practice the truth the next time my stomach knots up and I find myself dreading instead of trusting.
“Dread not. Neither be afraid.” Words of grace to live by every single day.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.