I’ve never been a “dip a toe in the water” kind of girl. I’d much rather jump right off the diving board and embrace the chilly jolt.
Everyone knows it’s easier to acclimate if you go all in, right?
I tend to face life this way also. Decisions are all or nothing, and apathy isn’t a prominent character trait. I’ve been known to rush in, yet most decisions are actually preceded by intense thought and prayer.
But when I jump, I jump.
My husband and I had dated about a month when I told him I wanted to marry him. Indeed it was a bold statement, but I knew he wanted the same.
I like taking risks. Recently, however, a latent fear rose to the surface; I didn’t realize I was still afraid of future suffering. I thought I’d dealt with that one long ago. Apparently it crept up again.
Sitting in front of a man who wants to date me and has embraced my widowhood with immense grace, I finally confronted the sin lurking in the shadows.
“What if I have to walk through death again? If I let this guy in, I could suffer more.”
Through tears I admitted the fear. Pulling me close, he spoke life giving truth.
“You know God is good. You know He does all things well. He sovereignly leads and plans the best things for your life. You may be a widow again. But you may not ever be. Because of the gospel we don’t have to fear. There is so much joy.”
And just like that I decided to leap. I don’t know what God plans for this man and me, but it’s time to take a risk and see what could be. I need not fear future suffering or future blessing.
For “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18.
God loves me perfectly. Jesus loved perfectly, even to death on the cross. Therefore, I don’t have to fear.
In How People Change, Tripp calls all the pressures of this life “heat.” The trials, blessings, responsibilities, sufferings, joys, and challenges, temptations—all are heat that produce either thorns or fruit.
At the potential of something new, my thorny response was fear. And in this scenario, fear is sin.
It is a result of
- forgetting who God is.
- forgetting what He has done.
- forgetting who He says I am.
- forgetting that He has provided everything for a God-honoring life.
- forgetting that He’s committed to making me holy.
Sometimes I cherish things more than I cherish Christ—
My expectations for a well-ordered life.
My temptations to compare a new relationship with the old.
Therefore, I turn from fear. However, to merely change my behavior would be counterfeit and superficial at best. I need radical heart change.
“At the cross God meets us in our sin and struggle with His heart transforming grace.” -Paul Tripp.
So, I ask. “Who is God and what does He say and do in Christ?’
God is good. He is working all things out for my joy and His glory. (Romans 8) Because Jesus had joy in suffering, when suffering comes I can meet it with a settled confidence— with joy, peace, rest, and even cheerfulness.
He gives Himself.
As I view the transforming grace of Christ at the cross, thorns become fruit, and I trust my unknown future to a known God.
As for this guy?
Well, I’m a little giddy. I can’t wait to see what God does next.
Here’s to the diving board.
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