It was supposed to be a routine appointment with the eye-doctor.
But then a test showed that my peripheral vision was deteriorating. The doctor was surprised at the results, so he ran the test again. Same results.
He tried to act calm, but I could tell he was worried. And when he said he wanted to schedule more tests, it hit me — I might have something seriously wrong.
As I walked out of the doctor’s office I felt that I’ve-just-been-kicked-in-the-stomach kind of fear. Because I realized my vision might be failing. I might be going blind.
Fear. Worry. Anxiety. We all experience them.
But it had been a long time since I felt fear like this — heart racing, dizzy head, knees weak.
And yet, as I drove the 45-minutes home, God worked a miracle. Honest truth — He took away the fear and replaced it with peace and even joy.
Here’s how it happened —
I turned my heart toward Jesus and trusted Him.
Here’s one reason I love Jesus — even when I’m full of fear, I can turn to Him just as I am and He welcomes me.
So I turned to Jesus, knowing that even with weak faith I was completely forgiven, clothed in Jesus’ perfect righteousness, and passionately loved by God (Mark 9:24; Eph 2:8-9; Heb 4:14-15).
I cried out for the heart-changing work of the Spirit.
I was feeling so much fear that peace seemed impossible. But I went ahead and asked Jesus — earnestly — to free me from fear and fill me with peace.
I was honest with Him about the losses I feared.
I talked with Jesus about the losses I feared — not being able to provide for my family, not being able to pastor Mercy Hill Church, and all the conveniences and joys that come from seeing.
I fought to trust that Jesus’ presence is more than enough to make up for these losses.
Jesus promises that His presence is so satisfying — that no matter what losses we experience we can be full (John 6:35). How is that possible?
Think about it like this. If someone stole $10,000 you would feel a great loss. But what if an hour later a long-lost uncle gave you $10 billion? You would still be out $10,000. But that $10 billion would more than make up for the $10.000 loss.
So I asked God to help me feel the infinite treasure I have in knowing Christ — a treasure great enough to make up for any earthly loss. I prayed over Scriptures like Psa 16:11; Psa 73:25-26,28; Matt 13:44; Phil 3:8-9; 2 Cor 4:16-18.
Here’s what happened. All I was feeling up to this point was fear of loss. But as I prayed over these truths about Jesus, I felt my heart start to change. Slowly I started to feel the reality and majesty and goodness of Jesus.
Over the next minutes this grew until I had such a taste of Jesus’ glory that — honestly — the thought of blindness didn’t bother me. I felt that this loving and glorious Jesus was so satisfying that with Him even blindness would be OK.
This feeling was not permanent. I’ve often had to fight to get back to being that satisfied in Jesus. But that first experience of satisfaction helped me see what was possible — which encouraged me to fight.
I fought to trust that if God brings about this loss, His purpose is to give me more of Jesus’ presence than I could have known otherwise.
I didn’t fight fear by saying “everything will be fine; I won’t lose my eyesight.” That’s just not true. In His perfect love, God might choose to have me lose my eyesight (Exo 4:11).
But if He does, it’s because the blindness would be a gift of even more of Christ’s all-satisfying presence (2 Cor 4:16-18; 12:9-10; 1 Pet 4:12-13). So I prayed over these Scriptures until I was at peace with whatever God might do.
I fought to to trust that God would solve every other problem this loss might bring.
Losing my vision would mean lots of problems — how would my church be pastored, how would I provide for my wife, how would I be faithful through this trial.
So I prayed over God’s promises about wisdom, finances, comfort, and strength — until the Holy Spirit strengthened my faith and I knew God really would take care of everything (Matt 6:33; Phil 4:13,19; 2 Cor 1:3-4; James 1:5).
I prayed that God would deliver me from this loss, and submitted to whatever He chose to do.
God calls us to ask Him to deliver us from trials (Psa 50:15; 2 Cor 12:7-8). So I also prayed earnestly and persistently that God would supernaturally heal me.
I also tried to pray submissively, because God knows better than me what will bring me closest to Christ.
What I learned
I’d known that God delivers from fear (Psa 37:4). But that afternoon I learned how He delivers.
It’s not by me trying to stay positive (“Everything will be fine”). It’s not by me ignoring the problem (“Just think about something else”). It’s by me fighting the fight of faith — praying over God’s Word until I feel the Holy Spirit giving me such joy in Jesus that I am free from fear.
This is important
This doesn’t mean you ignore everything else and focus only on prayer until the Spirit changes your heart. Before that happens you may need to get some sleep or make your kids’ lunches.
But as soon as you can return to prayer over God’s Word, and don’t stop until He meets you.
And if you doubt that the joy of Jesus is powerful enough to make up for every loss, read Hudson Taylor’s testimony of how God comforted him after his wife’s death.
I later went to a specialist, who examined my eyes and said there was probably no problem, but that I should take the same test in a year to see if my eyes get worse.
I was relieved. But I’m also thankful — because this experience showed me how much Jesus can satisfy my heart, and that with His all-satisfying presence fears lose their power.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
How Jesus Frees Us From Fear (4-Min Video -- With French Fries)
Bible Passages on Fear
How God freed me from fear -- while mountain-biking
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