I was sitting in our astrovan parked just beside the side door of the chapel while the midweek service rolled on. Felix, Hannah, and Maricris (my then caregiver) were inside the chapel. The gnawing fear that had enveloped me ever since I became ill in 2003 continued its insidious work in me, its grip tightening ever more that afternoon. When an ex-convict who had become a convert testified in the pulpit, the demons of fear who had been congregating around me intensified their work. This time, I was so afraid of the testimony I just heard. I felt like my life was in danger.
(image from Google)
I couldn’t shake it off. I fretted, I obsessed, I worried no end as the Church worshiped. I felt like God wasn’t on my side but on the side of the people who planned to harm me (though such people were nonexistent; it was only in my mind). I was thinking that He wouldn’t be there to help me when evil people come to get me, that He was not that powerful to deliver me. I knew all these things to be outright lies, vain imaginings, but I couldn’t help being helpless against the demons of fear.
Fear was like my shadow. It was with me everywhere. It made me heave a thousand sighs all day. It was wearying. Debilitating. It saw no reason. It was like the demons of fear had taken over my once brilliant brain and I was powerless over them even though I was already serving the living God for over two years. This was the beginning of summer of 2006.
I looked at the preachers’ booth and I saw the back of the head of a preacher I hadn’t seen before. Maybe he came from another outreach. During praise and worship, I saw him clapping and waving his hands in abandon. I marvelled at his fervor. Maybe he’s an anointed preacher, too. I can’t wait to hear his message.
We were in Pampanga Fasting House chapel en route to a crusade in the province.
The visiting preacher began his sermon. I was still trying to quiet the demons.
Then with a powerful voice, he cried,
After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. (Gen. 15:1, emphasis added)
I was literally jolted out of my stupor! I felt like I was doused with a drum of cold water and it hit me, splintering the shroud of fear that had been gripping me.
My shield! My exceeding great reward! It was not simply great (though great IS great!), it was exceedingly great!
The God of Abraham who is also my God is my exceedingly great reward! Fear not, fear not, fear not!
This was my enlightenment – my gateway to true freedom and powerful Christian life!
That night at the hotel, I prayed to God with copious weeping, like a dam had burst inside me and I was relinquishing all fears and begging God to walk with me every step of the way, while holding on tightly to Genesis 15:1.
Never give up on God, however hard the journey becomes at times.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Heb. 11:6)
I can’t remember the exact day when God finally turned my captivity and wiped away all my fears. One day, I just realized that they were gone and in their place were peace, joy, wisdom, and a well of inspiration.
God had turned my mourning into dancing! He has, indeed, become my exceedingly great reward!
I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.
Journey with Jesus,