What Have We To Fear?
The Grace Letter
1998: Christmas Remembered
|Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are
powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It's not in just some of us;
It's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
In my life I have been afraid of many things. A great number of my fears centered around my knowledge that I was not like the other boys in my town. I lived in fear of social ridicule and physical violence. I feared rejection by my parents if they knew my feelings. The fear produced in me a sense of shame, so that no matter what I achieved in my education, I felt unworthy of praise - even unworthy of love.
If they only knew...they would not love me. I tried to structure my life so no one would ever know how unhappy I was.
But God knew. God had to know the contents of my heart. God was aware that I believed I should have been female, not male.
Sometimes I wondered if God cared. My prayers to be made "normal" went unanswered - and my fear grew.
As an adult I feared the disruption of my marriage. I feared professional and economic losses, ostracism by friends and colleagues, loss of my position in a conservative church.
The knowledge in my heart grew stronger. It had a name - transsexualism. The day came when the need to be true to my heart overcame my fears.
In that day I discovered the love of my God is greater than any fear. I gave my fears to God and experienced his love in a greater measure than ever before.
The things I feared were not resolved favorably. In fact, most of them happened just as I had feared. But God's love sustained me through my losses and created love in me to reach out to others who shared this experience.
All through God's Word we see it: "Fear not. Do not be afraid." God knows our tendency to let circumstances terrify us. And yes, God definitely does care.
Christ calms my inner storms, even though outside the waters may still be rough. I am not promised an easy journey; I am promised God's presence all along the way.
I still have to walk through the fire. But I have the love and protection of my God to sustain me.
You see, the antidote to fear is love. We could even say that fear is the opposite of love. When we fear, we are saying to God, "I am not trusting in your love."
What have we to fear? In the Old Testament, the "fear of the Lord" referred to the reverence in which we hold God - holy, separate, almost inaccessible. Such a reverential awe helped the ancient Israelite mind understand the majesty and greatness of God.
But in Jesus Christ we have God the accessible. "Love the Lord your God," he said. He is our guide for this love. His selfless love bought my freedom from sin and fear.
What have we to fear? Persons who claim to speak for God may reject us. That which they have not experienced, they do not understand, so they condemn us. But our God does not condemn us. Our God loves us with an infinite love which he places into our hearts to love others as he loves us.
This love enables us to have the courage to live our lives in truth and without fear. Nothing can happen to us that will separate us from God's love. Given this ultimate assurance, we can live day by day on a higher plane of existence.
What have we to fear? If we have given our lives to God through Jesus Christ, we have no need to fear. He will always be with us. He will never leave or forsake us.
What have we to fear?
Perfect love drives out fear.