For we know,
brothers and sisters loved by God,
that he has chosen you,
because our gospel came to you
not only in word, but also in power and
in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.
By Stephen W. Hiemstra
Do you truly feel forgiven and loved by God?
It is one thing to know that you are covered by the blood of Jesus in your head and it is another thing to feel it in your heart.
Fear and Anxiety
In 2010, I signed up for a small group discussion at church. A couple days later the pastor’s wife called to inform me that the group that I have signed up for was over-subscribed and asked whether I would be willing to join another group. No problem, I said reluctantly thinking to myself–why would I want to join a group talking about fear? So I bought the book and as I read along, I found my life jumping off the pages–not only had fear crept into my life; it was quietly dictating a lot of my decisions. Through almost no effort on my part, God had directed me to a major stronghold in my life and helped me deal with it.
Max Lucado (2009, 5-6) observed that: ordinary children today are more fearful than psychiatric patients were in the 1950s. Fear displaces happiness; fear is unproductive; fear is self-defeating. After the storm on the Galilee, Jesus asked: why were you afraid? (Matthew 8:26) In suggesting the destructive potential of fear, Martin Niemoeller observed in 1933 that it was fear that transformed Adolf Hitler into a tyrant (Lucado 2009, 9-11).
Fear of losing one’s children, one’s job, or one’s health can paralyze a person. Who can contemplate Einstein’s theory of relativity when one worries about the roof collapsing? We live in an age of fear.
I recently made a trip to Cambridge, MA to visit my daughter and her husband. We had a wonderful time together, but two days before my return home I ate something that set off my stomach and it exacerbated a problem that I have with my prostrate. Unable to urinate, I ended up in the local hospital in the emergency room where they inserted a catheter, which I lived with for about two weeks. Because movement of almost any kind was uncomfortable, I was able to travel home but almost all of my normal activities—writing, exercise, volunteering, church attendance—halted during my distress.
Embarrassed by my condition, I did not advertise my sudden dependency on the good graces of my friends and family. Nevertheless, word got around and I soon found three churches and a lot of friends praying over me. Meanwhile, my wife proved herself to be an absolute angel.
A great peace came over me. For the first time in recent memory, I found myself anxiety-free. I have always felt God’s love; now, I felt loved like never before by the church and my family. Being a lifelong nervous eater, this peace displaced interest in food and I lost more than ten pounds, a healing brought about by this peace.
Loved by God
We serve a God of abundance. The Apostle John recognized the divinity of Christ through his miracles of abundance: wine, loaves of bread, and fish (John 2, 6, 21). The trademark of God’s healing displays itself as healing extends beyond the presenting diagnosis. In my case, I no longer need a catheter and I continue to enjoy a deep peace and weight loss.
Lucado, Max. 2009. Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Covered and Healed
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