by Rob Dunne
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Growing up, I adored my paternal grandmother. She doted on me and in her eyes, I could do no wrong. The two hour commute from Connecticut to Brooklyn kept us from spending more time with one another. At the end of every visit, I would cry knowing that distance was going to separate us once again.
When I was six or seven, my parents offered to let me stay with my grandparents. I was so excited at the prospect of having my grandmother all to myself. They had a big cast iron tub that I loved to play in. Even better was the swimming pool sitting in their tiny backyard. The house had a third floor with lots of nooks and crannies for hide and seek.
Things were going swimmingly when I first arrived. I put my things in the guestroom and placed Pooh on the bed. To this day, the smell of that old bear still reminds me of my grandmother and her house in Brooklyn. Suddenly, a thought niggled at the back of my mind. My parents are going to leave me here.
As darkness set in, I began to panic. The idea of being with my grandmother by myself sounded great when initially presented to me. What I didn’t anticipate was how much I was going to miss my family. Maybe having them around while visiting my grandmother wasn’t so bad after all. Fear began closing in on me like a vice grip. A quick phone call home failed to alleviate it. I wanted to go home immediately. The very next day, we were on a bus back home.
My grandmother successfully raised three boys of her own. What was I so afraid of? It was fear of the unfamiliar and unknown. Would she leave the light on in the hallway as I slept? What about noises that go bump in the night? Can she soothe my wounded knee if I scrape it in a fall? Regardless of the root, the fear was unwarranted.
Even now there are times when I allow fear to get blown out of proportion. It happens when God prompts me to pray for a stranger or share a word of encouragement with them. Concern about how they will react to my request may cause fear. The chance that the prayer will not work immediately also causes fear.
I believe that pride is at the root of most of these fears. Getting rejected or looking foolish overcomes my desire to follow God’s leading to pray for another person. Fortunately, the remedy for fear is love. The bible says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. When we say yes to God’s leadership of our lives, He fills us with His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit fills us with love which helps us overcome any fear that tries to hinder us. This in turn allows us to boldly follow God and cast aside our pride.
Are there times when we will reach out to someone and have them reject an offer of prayer? Yes. Most people, however, are genuinely touched when you offer to pray with them. Regardless of whether they receive healing in their bodies or their situation is changed in any way, someone took the time to reach out to them and selflessly love them.
Throughout your day, ask God if there is someone He wants to impact through you. Tap in to the spirit of love that God has given you and overcome your fears!