Friday, February 18, 2011

God Hears My Cry

My eyes cry a rain, image courtesy of my.opera.com

Most of us who are familiar with the life of David know he was a warrior and a king. We remember David as the shepherd boy who killed the giant Goliath. We remember the bond of brotherly love between David and Saul’s son Jonathan. We remember David as having a heart after God causing him to repent from the murder of Uriah the Hittite; we don’t think of David being fearful.

But there were times when even David was afraid.

David understood that there’s no shame in acknowledging my fears.

What makes you afraid?

The unknown causes fear. The things I’m unfamiliar with can cause fear to rise up in me.

I remember as a child, we lived in an apartment and the one window in this bedroom I shared with my brothers faced an interior brick wall of another apartment building. There was a space of about four square feet that ascended from the base of the buildings to the roof.
God hears my cry, image courtesy of markmallett.com
God Hears My Cry
Next to this window was a closet which my mother used to store her clothes. She did this because her bedroom had no closet. The closet door was never shut. I suppose it was due to the small size of the closet, and the amount of clothes hanging on the rack and the door hook, that made it difficult to shut.

It was during the night that I began to notice a stationary figure standing in front of that open closet door. This motionless figure stood there, tormenting me with fear. I would call for my mother asking if I could sleep with the light on but my pleas would fall on deaf ears. Both she and my grandmother would try to assure me that no one was in the room but as soon as they left, my tormentor returned. I became so afraid that sleep was impossible unless I used the covers as a cocoon. I began to imagine that each night, my tormentor would climb up the walls and through the window, standing there by the closet door, in the dark and silence; waiting for the right moment to do something terrible to me.

In the morning, my tormentor would be gone; his opportunity lost because I’d hidden myself under the covers. Each morning, I’d cautiously open the window, peering down to the ground below hoping my tormentor was somehow trapped; unable to escape. I was never able to see my tormentor during the day. As a child, I had not reached the point where my logic would override my imagination. It never occurred to me that during a full moon, this corridor of brick walls would illuminate with light, creating shadows that seemed to move as I peered from beneath the covers.

I was afraid because I saw someone who wasn’t supposed to be there; so I hid under the covers.

I didn’t know what to do, or whom to call for help.

One night, I needed to go to the bathroom, but there was my tormentor, standing there waiting for me to get up. I waited and waited, but my tormentor stood motionless in front of the door, silently watching me. Finally, I picked up a shoe, sat up in the bed and threw it as hard as I could. To my surprise, the shoe knocked my tormentor to the floor. I got up and walked cautiously over to the closet door to get a close glimpse of my tormentor. Standing there with a shoe in my hand, ready to beat my tormentor senselessly, I looked down on the floor and lying underneath my shoe was my mother’s black and white polka-dot silk blouse. This made no sense to me.

Where was my tormentor?

I picked up the blouse and hung it back on the door. It was then that I noticed something from the moonlight shining through the window. The blouse seemed to morph into something I'd seen many times before. Was this the hideous, frightening monstrous figure that tormented me for so many nights? I walked over to the bed, sat down and peered in the direction of the closet door. There was my tormentor again! I hurled my shoe, again knocking it to the floor. I ran over to catch a glimpse and lying there was my mother’s silk blouse.

My mother never asked me about the shoeprints on her blouse, and I never saw my tormentor again.

The things I’m unfamiliar with can cause fear to rise up in me.

Unfamiliarity with God may even cause me to fear Him.

David understood that even during his darkest fears, God hears his cry; David knew that God is on his side:

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!1

Then shall my enemies turn back in the day that I cry out; this I know, for God is for me.2

Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me.3

When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.4

I think about how powerful, and alive those words are as they speak, resonating in my spirit:

"...God is for me."

Fear is a type of enemy. The bible says:

Hear My Prayer O God, image courtesy of faithquestfreefall.blogspot.com
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.5

God give me three spiritual weapons to overcome my fears:
  1. The spirit of power, to face my fears.
  2. The spirit of love, to faithfully trust Him with my fears.
  3. The spirit of a well-balanced mind, to know He is greater than my fears.
My fears retreat because God is for me!

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen?6

Knowing who God is, and that He hears me means that my fears cannot harm me. God hears me when I cry to Him. As a child, lying in my bed, afraid of the dark, wishing for some light, my fear grew to be a monster-sized terror. I was alone. I didn’t know what was there, or who to call for help.

I’m not alone anymore. God is for me. Jesus is called, Immanuel, which means, God with us. He won’t ignore my cry; He hears my cry. Whatever fears lurk in the shadows of my life, I will call out to the Lord because I know He hears my cry.

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger).Spiritual Sundays
Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 56:9, NLTB
  2. Psalm 56:9, Amplified Bible
  3. Psalm 56:9, NIV
  4. Psalm 56:9, KJV
  5. 2 Timothy 1:7, Amplified Bible
  6. Romans 8:31, The Message Bible
References:
  1. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  2. The Amplified Bible, by The Lockman Foundation, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ISBN-13: 978-0310951414
  3. King James Version, The Crusade Analytical Study Edition, Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc., PO Box 90011, Nashville, Tennessee 37209
  4. The Message Bible, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, CO, ISBN-13: 978-1600060250
  5. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  6. The New Living Translation Bible, by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0842384896
  7. Matthew Henry's Commentary, McDonald Publishing Company, McLean, Virginia 22101, ISBN 0-917006-21-6

27 comments:

Sherry said...

I too had an intruder in my room while I was growing up. Mine was in the form of a soldier. I understand how fear can get our imagination working overtime. Thank the good Lord for coming into my life and granting me peace. I learned then that God's protection is more powerful than my imagination. Thank you for this post.

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

we also have an active role to play in this as described by Paul in 2 Cor 10.4-5 ~ We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.
grace & peace ~

Nicole said...

Just popping in to say, "Another great post my brother!" Love it!

Nothing better than God being for us!!!

Sent you an email

Whidbey Woman said...

An excellent post in every way!
Your story really drew me in.
Sleep peacefully tonight, dear one.

Loren said...

Fear is paralyzing! Stops us from far too many things! I, too have been held captive to this spirit. Calling on the Lord and using our Sword (the Word) to conquer brings victory one step at a time! Just as you described. One step at a time and you were able to have victory over your fears! God has done this for me and continues to this day! Praise HIM

Brenda said...

What a beautiful illustration. Easy to understand. I have a grandchild who so fearful.I will use this to help him understand courage. But also useful in my life when fears overwhelm.

sarah said...

this was an amazing post to me on so many levels. My 10 yr. old is afraid to sleep if her closet door is open. and I had 'intruders' too...terrible nightmares that seemed so real. I love how you wrote this and the best..I'm not alone anymore. Thanks so much MTJ....this really really touched me.

Charlotte said...

I love this post. It proves how irrational yet how real our fears are to us. I'm so glad you found the One who can take your fears away. Thank you for sharing your heart.
Blessings,
Charlotte

Karen said...

Even as adults the unknown can be very scary! Thank you for a lovely post. Have a blessed weekend.

withpenandcamera said...

Hi MTJ:

You wrote, "Unfamiliarity with God may even cause me to fear Him."

I can attest to that. For many years, I had mistaken ideas about God - thinking He was a God of punishment and not a God of love. It was only by familiarizing myself with His word and seeking Him, that I turned my fear (being afraid of Him) into fear (reverent respect).

Good post.

Blessings,
Joan

Sharon Kirby said...

I can so remember being terrified of the dark (I still am a little bit...) I was very sure that there was someone or something under my bed. That fear was confirmed one night when I woke up with someone grabbing on to my hand from under the bed! I yelled out for my parents, and they came in and started laughing - it was only then that I realized that I was holding my own hand - the other one had gone to sleep and I couldn't feel it.

Fear is a powerful weapon of the devil, and he wields in multi-faceted ways. But as you have so wisely stated (and reminded me again), God is greater than any fear or any circumstance that comes into my life.

We are not alone - praise His name for that assurance!

GOD BLESS!

Pamela said...

"Fear is a powerful weapon of the devil." Yes, and the devil flees when we plead the blood over him. It IS a wonderful assurance. If only I remember that when my heart grows fearful.

Donnie said...

What a wonderful post to help us with all our "fears".

Mollye said...

You are so right on. Fears can be so debilitating whether we are children or adults. I think we should never make light of a child's fears. My husband had night tremors so severe as a child his parents would have to take him to the hospital..Great post. Mollye

Crystal Mary said...

I grew up in the country side where we had no outside lights. As a child I was also terrified of the shapes around the room.
Since then I have always made sure there is plenty of light in my house...via street lights..Jesus is the Light of the world, in Him there is no darkness...
Yes, God has given us a Spirit of Love, Power and a sound mind...
I often say this verse if I get depressed and before long I am laughing again...We defeat the enemy with the Sword of Gods word. It is a powerful weapon. God Bless your day sweet sister.

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

There are different times in our life when we have different kinds of fear. Thank-you so much for sharing this memory with us.
God Bless,
Ginger

Virginia said...

I really enjoyed your post. As far as fear goes ... The name of the LORD is a strong tower
Sweet Blessings,
Virginia

Clif said...

An excellent study and devotional. Well illustrated, practical and easy to understand. Thank you for doing such a thorough study and then sharing it with us. This will bless many.

Cindy Adkins said...

Wow, what a story! I believe you that God is on our side...He's for us no matter what and sees us through so many things in life...I feel so blessed by your story...thank you!!!
And blessings for a wonderful week,
Cindy

Anita Johnson said...

This brought back a few scary memories from childhood as well. "The unknown causes fear"...yes, it does. I'm so glad that God has made his plan known to us. Great post!

Charlotte/For Such A Time As This said...

Thank you for sharing your childhood fear. I was afraid of many things as a child, and I still have occasions when I get fearful now and must overcome them...I have learned to give them to God. I am so glad He is for us and comes to our rescue when we call on His name.

Cathy said...

Oh, that is a sad story about you and fear. Thanks for that encouraging post about fear. Blessings ~

Lloyd said...

MTJ, thank you so much for sharing this heartfelt memory with us. You have touched many lives today with this post. May the God of Mercy and Hope continue to shine through you and your blog ministry. God bless, Lloyd

Lisa said...

Beautiful post! I know many were helped and encouraged by your Godly wisdom.

Dean Spencer said...

MTJ -

I, for one, can relate to your story. I think being faced with the unknown is one of my biggest problems. Whether it's thinking about moving, starting a new job, or especially confronting someone about an issue, I find myself a nervous wreck.

But over time (I still have a long ways), God is helping me with this. Your post is definitely an encouragement. I need to keep those spiritual weapons you mentioned in mind the next time I'm faced with a situation.

Thanks for another excellent post! Have a great week! God bless!

Mari said...

Wonderful post MTJ, just knowing that God is with us, protecting us and has armed us with what we need to face our fears, what more can we ask for. Why even fear? I spent my time now praying more rather then fearing. Our Lord is our savior and is always by our side listening to our cry.

God bless :)

Peggy (mazmagi) said...

WOW!

WOW!

WOW!

Yes, GOD HEARS YOUR CRY! MY CRY!
THE CRY OF FEAR!

Fear is not of Him!
So we know what to do!!!

This is so wonderfully written, from beginning to end...
"David understood that there’s no shame in acknowledging my fears."... all the way through... great points, scriptures and spiritual insights and weapons!

I loved each element...the story held the reader's attention, the italics words were key points, the scriptures were bold points and your exposition of my favorite scripture for getting me through (2 Timothy 1:7) were fantastic!

But no prayer :0(
:
:
:
yet another worthy conclusion and well written blog on FEAR...

Many blessings MTJ... Bravo!
We will not fear, God is near,
And if God is for us...
who can be against us?
Or better yet, who will win against such a POWER that lives within us?

Amen!

Immanuel
(at 39 sec)... God with us...
"Immanuel our God is with us
And if God is with us who could stand against us
Our God is with us
Immanuel..."