It’s funny, what God can do when you don’t expect it. Wednesday, I felt like God wanted me to set aside my lesson plans and have the kids dig deep inside of them when it came to writing. Two things sort of “nagged” at me: the song “Voice of Truth” and the idea that we all fear something or hide something that is deep within us, that maybe we don’t even realize is there. Typically, when the kids are writing, I grade their homework or circulate among them. But Wednesday, I didn’t circulate. I told them what they wrote was private and could even be torn up at the end of class. (It’s a testament to the amazingness of this group of kids that the bulk of them actually did what I asked and didn’t fool around.) This time, God had me pull out the notebook I had just happened to tuck into my bag that morning and write along with them. I had already been thinking about “Voice of Truth,” so that was where I began.
See, something’s been nagging at me for a while, something that has kept me from (as one of my students put it) “cracking the shell” and letting me get real with God. It’s like I put up a wall. And the more I sort of free wrote, the more a picture formed, until God poured this into my head out of nowhere:
It was like a sledgehammer. Yep, God freed me ten years ago from fear. I’m free. It can’t control me anymore… unless I give it permission to. And I’ve given it permission. No, it’s not the paralyzing panic that held me down for years, but a more insidious, creeping fear. It’s the fear of failing the ones I love, of failing God, of falling so far that I lose their love. There is that deep down, soul-hiding fear that I will mess up so badly that I’ll lose everything. Either people will leave, God will turn His back on me, or my boss will throw up her hands and fire me.
And then God comes along and says to me, “You’re not the only one.” That’s why I’m writing this. Because I’m not the only one. Someone else needs to know it. How do I know? Because Toby and Michael and Kevin sang this:
The fear that lives within me
Or the rate at which it grows.
If struggle has a purpose
On the narrow road you’ve carved,
Why do I dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar?
That was my heart sitting at my desk writing in that notebook. I’m willing to bet it’s someone else’s heart too. It’s time to beat back the devil’s lies and realize that God loves us bigger than all of our sins. It’s why He sent Jesus. It’s why we’re still here and the world is not yet melted into liquid fire. It’s why there’s such a thing as grace. How big of a liar is the devil to keep us from living in it?
Oh, Jesus. Let us hear it. Let us know it. Let us see it. Let us walk in your perfect, unconditional, unfailing-no-matter-what-we-do-to-fail love…