I've been robbed. Not in the way you might think, though.
Yesterday, as I was pulling out of my driveway, I saw a vehicle that may have been suspicious drive by my house. Our small(ish) community has been plagued by a rash of burglaries. Apparently the robbers stake out a person's house -- noting where they store their cars, when they leave, when they come home, etc. I was just convinced that the person in that car was coming to rob my house. I wondered if I should stay home from Bible study just so I could ward off these potential thugs. I was paralyzed with indecision, even making the block to see if the strange car was parked outside my house. Do I sound irrational yet? Yes, I do.
Anyway, I knew the answer was not to sit at home instead of going to Bible study. I thought of what I might miss while I was there -- fabulous friendship, God's Word speaking to my soul, free childcare. Then I thought about what the very worst thing that could happen if my house was indeed robbed. Well, I thought, they could take all my stuff. My kids wouldn't be able to watch television, I wouldn't be able to work on my blog until my husband returned home with his laptop, and if they took the Time Capsule (our back-up hard drive), I wouldn't have all my digital photos anymore. All it came down to was stuff of the earth versus stuff of eternity (save the free childcare). I drove on to Bible study, saying a quick prayer that God would protect our house, and then set my mind to leave behind my worries so that I might focus on what really mattered.
I came home from Bible study, heart and soul-filled. And my house was still filled, too. Dust bunnies and all. But the whole experience, as silly as it may be, made me realize how often I have robbed myself of experiences and relationships when I give in to fear. Granted, some days the costs of giving in are higher than others, but when I think about missing out on anything that God wants to give me, it makes me want to trust Him more. Even the trials and tribulations have sweet moments interspersed that makes the hard journeys bearable. Neglecting to take God up on a blessing is something I never want to do. His blessings are just too good.
I did a quick search on fear on www.Biblegateway.com. When I mean quick, I mean about 3 minutes (I'm not a huge researcher here). Sixty-five (65!!) times God specifically tells us "Do not be afraid." Another 14 times, He tells us, "Do not fear." I think He knew that it would be a struggle to live in faith, to trust Him, to not give into to the "what ifs." Thus, He continually reminds me that no matter what, He is with me, He is good, and He brings redemption to even the worst of situations and tragedies. I don't have to fear because my God is bigger than the worst things that could happen to me or my family. I now have the freedom to shed the cloak of fear that for some reason I thought would protect me from endangering my pride or getting hurt, physically or emotionally. I can live knowing that I can walk through anything He asks with His full protection and providence.