From Fear to Love Part 2

Yes, there was a first From Fear to Love and you can read it here. I used to live in fear of God, so powerful that I couldn’t have a day’s rest. What is wrong with having a fear of God, you ask. After all, the Bible teaches us to fear God. But in my fear of God, I had not felt His love. I didn’t know how to rest in His love. I only knew His severity, His chastisements (more of punishments), and my fearful reaction – cowering and trembling.

Because of this great fear of Him and my suffering which I believed was His form of punishment of me, I did my best to do only those things that would please Him. I strove to please Him at every heartbeat I took, so to speak. For a very long time, I only knew His severity and saw just glimpses of His love and mercy like a thin shaft of light that strained to pass through a shuttered window. I endeavoured to behave myself perfectly before Him from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning to the time I closed them again at night. And I wondered, oh, many times I wondered, why the physical suffering, the punishment, continued relentlessly. Cruelly. Without respite.

I knew the Lord Jesus Christ as meek and lowly, loving and compassionate. I knew the stories about Him, both from the Bible and from living testimonies. But somehow, I had this image of the all-powerful God who held everything in His hands, who couldn’t stand mistakes and failures, and who chastised His children when they erred. It’s true that He chastises His children. But for me, it seemed it was so much more.

For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives. (Heb. 12: 6)

But even if I had perfected my way, I still collapsed in bed, gasping for breath, for my very life, and wondering what could have I done this time. Instead of resting in the love of the Lord, I wrung my heart, trying to squeeze out whatever fault I’d done. I would repent over and over until I had felt some measure of relief. There was a time, I whined in my mind, that – yes, it was all my fault, I even killed Rizal (Dr. Jose Rizal is our country’s national hero and he was killed in Luneta by firing squad during the Spanish regime).

Later on, I realized that my strivings for perfection could have put me in a position to question God, His compassion (or lack thereof) and judgment. I thought that, perhaps perfection breeds pride. That kind of perfection that doesn’t come from the Lord but from our own works, our own exertions. When my body succumbed to suffering, instead of laying myself at the Lord’s feet and resting in His love and mercy, I would review every thought, word, and act I made in the past few hours. I racked my brain trying to analyze even the minutest fault that might have triggered the “attack” (of God’s chastisement).

Then a shift happened. I can’t say when it started to happen, but I just began to realize that I wasn’t living in cowering fear of God anymore, but in His unfailing love. I then began to experience that, even in the midst of my failures, mistakes, and shortcomings, I could run to Him and rest in His love and know that I wouldn’t be turned away or rejected. Or punished.

Something happened within me, a work of the Holy Spirit for sure, and I knew that God loves me, warts (spots and blemishes) and all. That it is only when we admit we are imperfect, and we are imperfect, that we can truly experience the Lord’s love and mercy.

Now, everyday, I choose to dwell in His love. Not in fear. For I found out that God’s not the one who was attacking me but His enemy.

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Journey with Jesus,

Comments

  1. Barbie says:

    “Only when we admit we are imperfect, and we are imperfect, that we can truly experience the Lord’s love and mercy” So true! Thank you for sharing your faith walk.

  2. Renee says:

    I have been through this same journey. I think my problem is that I find it hard to forgive myself…I expect perfection, so surely God must, also….. But then I remember that “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Before i ever did anything, God had a plan to express His total love for me, no matter what. He didn’t wait until we were clean and perfect to love us. He Loved us first! We are perfect to Him! It helps to remember that.

  3. Naomi says:

    Very good article. I understand what you’re talking about. There is rest in God’s love.

  4. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing it with us! <3

  5. jennifer says:

    So grateful for your wisdom, shared in community with us at #TellHisStory! xo

  6. Anita Ojeda says:

    I’m so glad you’ve found a way to rest in the Father’s love.

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