Not Frightened by Fear

I had the privilegeĀ of sharing a bit of my story this morning at Women’s Bible Study. It’s a bit different format since I was speaking, not blogging, but here’s what I spoke on:

I wanted to share a testimony of how 1 Peter 3:5-6 really encouraged me during the months leading up to my divorce. I really like how the ESV translates this passage: “For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”

Submission is never an easy thing but it’s particularly challenging when married to an unbeliever or a husband making ungodly choices. No one knew that better than Sarah. If you’ve never read the story in Genesis 12, let me summarize it. Abraham was traveling in the foreign land of Egypt. His wife Sarah was very beautiful and he was scared that the Pharoah would want to take Sarah for himself, and would kill him to do so. He didn’t trust that God would protect him, so he made the foolish decision to lie about who Sarah was. He told the Pharoah that she was his sister, so Pharaoh let him live and took Sarah to be his wife. Was her situation frightening? Absolutely. And yet this passage says she “didn’t fear what was frightening.” She trusted that God would be her Ever-Faithful and Perfect Husband. She trusted in God rather than Abraham — and God protected her.

Over a year ago my husband began to walk away from the Lord. As you can imagine it was a terrifying time. My decade old marriage began to crumble without having our faith in common. I’d look at my 3 small kids and feel paralyzed with fear. Many of you ladies walked through that season with me and know how hopeless I was at times. How could I follow a husband who wasn’t following God? How could I trust him to lead our family? And what if he decided to leave me?

I read through this passage during that time. I was reminded that I was supposed to follow Sarah’s example and not “fear what is frightening.” Regardless of how terrifying my circumstances became, I knew that Jesus would be my husband and that He would ultimately protect my family. My prayers shifted from “Lord, please change my husband” to “Lord, help me trust in you no matter what.” I decided to obey God and to trust Him, even when my husband was making bad choices. I continued to submit myself to his leadership and pray that God would protect me and my children.

And God answered my prayers with hope. He gave me a confident and sure hope that I had a future and that I could trust His plan. Even when my circumstances got worse and my husband decided to leave, I experienced a confidence in who Jesus is and that allowed me not to live in fear. He has been my Faithful and Perfect Husband, never leaving my side. I can look back and see how He was with me every step of the way and has never left me on my own.

We’ve all heard the phrase “everything happens for a reason.” It can be used in insensitive ways to justify terrible things that happen. But from God’s perspective, it really is true. Nothing happens without His care and involvement. That includes choices that the people in our lives make. He has promised to watch over us and be with us, even as people we trust fail us. We can be free to trust in Him and not be shaken by the insecurity of our circumstances. That’s how we can follow Sarah’s example and not “fear what is frightening.” Because we know who ultimately plans our days and He is GOOD.

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