Deliver us from fear-
It has always considered it my highest purpose in life, driven by my most basic instinct as a man, to make sure my wife and daughters knew, and know, they were safe; to provide for them and instill in them a sense of security, to be their protector. That is also the heart of your Father in heaven. That is why he sent Jesus, and that is why he provides his Holy Spirit and still continues to call out— “follow me. I am perfect love and ‘perfect love casts out fear.'”
My desire is strong but my abilities are sometimes limited, fortunately our God is not limited.
The other day I went to Walmart to pick up a prescription and standing in line I remembered a day a few years earlier when I had stopped in to pick one up, a simple stop that turned in to a serious stress for me.
My daughter Jessie had stayed home from school to have her wisdom teeth pulled, I think she was 17 or so. For some reason I didn’t have to work that day so I took her to the dentist while Donna was at work. After the procedure they brought Jessie out to me in the waiting room, still kind of groggy and feeling no pain from the anesthesia. They prescribed some pain meds and I asked if they would call it in for us so I could pick it up on the way home. “Sure, where would you like it filled?” – “Walmart on the west end.”
Big mistake. I put Jessie in the truck and off to Walmart we go. I park and tell her, I’ll be right back. So I go in, stand in line, get to the pharmacist and hear; “oh, we don’t have that ready yet, we haven’t had time to listen to the messages on the phone.” Doing my best to sound patient while the panic and anger was rising in me as I remembered well how much pain I was in after I had had my wisdom teeth pulled and just wanting to get Jessie home safe and sound before the hurt set in on her, I calmly yet determinately explained the situation to the pharmacist.
Okay she said; “but it’ll probably be a half hour or so.” I can’t even begin to explain to you how frustrated, angry and helpless I felt. Like I said, it’s my most basic instinct, as it is for all men who love their families the way they should, to protect those we love from pain. I went back to the truck to explain to Jessie that we would have to wait a bit.
Fortunately, the anesthesia hadn’t worn off yet and she was doing just fine comfortably dozing in the truck. As I was sitting there stewing over my foolishness for choosing the busiest pharmacy in the state of Montana while the minutes ticked by tortuously slow, I noticed a little drama playing out in the parking lot near us. Two young woman appeared to be searching the parking lot, gesturing here and there while looking under cars until one of the ladies finally walked away.
Meanwhile the thirty minutes was finally up and I went back into the store just to find out that it still wasn’t ready. You’re kidding me! —I’m thinking; —don’t you understand that my little girl is in pain!? “Give us another 20 minutes or so.” Again I went out to the truck, Jessie is still asleep, (apparently I was the only one freaking out)—me and the young lady I had noticed in the parking lot earlier.
She was still searching the ground and looking very distraught. I told Jessie, I better go see what’s going on. So I went over and said; “Can I help you with something?” She said; “Oh yes, thank you so much, my other help gave up. I lost my wedding ring when I was here earlier and I am pretty sure I lost it in the parking lot, I was parked right about here. I have only been married a few months… I can’t lose that ring!”
So I helped her look, trying to think of all the places a ring might roll to. She had already talked to the store manager and no one had turned one in and she had left her phone number. Anyway, after a thorough search I convinced her that the ring just was not laying around here and tried to assure her that it was the relationship that was important, not the ring, and she had done all she could.
She had seemed to calm down some and was just so grateful that I had stopped to help her. She dried her tears and asked if she could give me a hug and reluctantly left to go home.
I went back into the store and finally, after a few more minutes’ wait, and a sympathetic clerk finally pushing my prescription through, I got to take Jessie home— well over an hour later. The frustrated hero just wanting to take care of my daughter and even a random stranger. I ultimately helped both but not to the extent that I wanted to, if desire and effort account for anything, I guess I did pretty well.
God doesn’t have that issue; He doesn’t just do pretty well—no one can thwart his plan and he doesn’t fail. And as great as my desire to help and protect is, his is many times greater.
The Lord wants nothing more than to deliver us from fear—hear that—deliver us from fear, to assure us that we are safe, to give us the tools to keep us safe and to recognize the power and the authority we have in him and to know that we have nothing to fear. We never have to doubt his love for us, his desire to deliver us from evil and to heal us from the times when we have fallen prey to that evil.
Jessie never doubted my love and commitment to her security and well-being. For all my anxiety—wanting to make sure she was taken care of and feeling as little pain as possible—Jessie wasn’t worried in the least, she knew she was in a safe place— with her dad.
And I know that the woman who lost her ring, or at least thought she did, was reassured by the kindness and perspective of a friendly stranger, when she left she had been largely delivered from her fear that her ring was just lying in the parking lot—if it was there we would have found it. After quizzing her a little more about when she last had it I suspect she probably found it later at home.
But my point is—and I know that not all of you can relate to a father who really cares about your wellbeing—if I, an imperfect human dad who’s love and desire to protect is but a dim reflection of the heavenly Father’s love for you—then we should not live in fear either. Rest easy knowing that things are being taken care of by someone who not only cares, but has the power to take care of things in a perfect way. You will get out of the parking lot and you will get home safe and sound.
What if you are in that parking lot with someone who does not care? If you have been saved from evil, even found new life in Jesus but have fallen again into the clutches of the dead and allowed yourself to be deceived by them into trusting them—Run. If you are not safe, you need to get safe, it is not the will nor the desire of the Lord for you to live in fear or pain, to tolerate or excuse, or to take the blame for someone else’s evil.
You do not deserve to live in pain, you do not deserve to live in fear and if you are now a follower of Jesus—you will recognize that evil just as surely as Jesus did when he confronted the legion of demons who had taken possession of that poor man on the far side of the lake in the Bible story (Mark 8) Remember the story? “What is your name?” The demons could not lie to Jesus and had to admit that there were many of them— “we are legion” please let us go live with the pigs. How pathetic is that?
And that didn’t last long, Jesus arranged a little burial at sea. This wasn’t Jesus’ first rodeo; he knew what to look for. Once we have been victimized, and rescued by the Lord, so do we.
Love always protects…