From the checkout stands beginning to use bar codes and scanners (totally dating myself), to another president that represented a particular set of views, I truly didn’t think I’d live past age twelve. Surly the world was doomed. That’s the context that framed my small world.
Trapped for so long, I felt a bit gypped. “Hooray I have salvation” followed by “Oh know, I’m doomed!” isn’t the redeemed life I wanted to live.
I kept reading about joy and I wanted some.
Deciding to kick fear where it counts, teenage angst used for something productive) I grabbed my bible, took a deep breath and sat uncomfortably on my bed. I began to read and God, being loving, generous and kind gave me a morsel of comfort right off the bat.
Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
My mom’s voice came trailing up the stairs and through the halls declaring dinner was ready. Boldly, I ignored her. Flat out skipped dinner because I wanted to finish my task, I wanted to be free from this fear that gripped me for too many years.
As I continued to read, I noticed the warm spring breeze coming through my window carrying the smell of sweet jasmine; another comfort as I read descriptions of events I didn’t understand. But just as learning a foreign language you can have a sense of what is happening and the underlying tone, I understood clearly that someday Jesus would be returning and setting things straight once and for all.
For several years my fears subsided, but when life was derailed during my first marriage, my focus shifted and I forgot the end of the story. Fear rose from dormancy fiercer than ever and sunk its talons deep into my soul.
Two years ago I got squirmy when Bible Study Fellowship, an international and intradenominational bible study, announced they would be adding a Revelation study. “Would everyone please be praying for the process?”
Um, let me think, yeah, I’ll pray. I’ll pray that this never happens!
Oh the state of my fear-filled soul. Funny how we can hide such things from those around us isn’t it? At the year’s end, I sat with my friends, other leaders who were talking about their excitement over the coming Revelation study. Going around the table, my discomfort rose as I realized they would want to hear from me.
When you’re among friends, particularly those who love God intensely, honesty isn’t optional. Succumbing to what I knew was best, I gave the thirty-second snapshot of my anxiety circling the study and asked them to pray I would be brave enough to participate in the study.
Our study of Revelation began three weeks ago and each week I can think of a solid list of reasons why I should ditch class or quit altogether. But I know deep in my heart the road to freedom means traveling through the thorns and I know I don’t forge that path on my own.
Like the comfort of that spring evening years ago, God is coaxing my weary heart, as I do while hiking with our kids, “You can do this, just a bit further” because I know what lies ahead, I know that it is good. So does God.
Revelation is a loaded book. It’s been talked about and presented to many of us as “the end of the world” book, but I’m beginning to learn how off base that is. If this fear has you in a headlock and you want to be free will you join me? God has so much GOOD planned for us (not necessarily first world make a million dollars type plans while living like a twenty-something until we’re one hundred) and regardless of the timing of Christ’s return, you and I have an expiration date (read here about my dad’s unexpected trip to heaven this summer). I don’t want to waste the days I have left racked in fear, how about you?
I hope you’ll come back throughout the month and see how God is revealing himself through my willingness to seek Him while studying Revelation!