home > Pastor’s Desk >2022 >JULY 08TH>TRUTH vs SOMETHING BIG AND HAIRY

TRUTH vs SOMETHING BIG AND HAIRY

You were lying in your bed, you were feeling kind of sleepy.
But you couldn’t close your eyes because the room was getting creepy.
Were those eyeballs in the closet? Was that Godzilla in the hall?
There was something big and hairy casting shadows on the wall.
Now your heart is beating like a drum, your skin is getting clammy.
There’s a hundred tiny monsters jumping right into your jammies!

These are lyrics from a song on the very first Veggie Tales video every made. The title of the song?  “God is bigger than the Boogie Man”. Junior Asparagus was lying in bed frightened, and Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber appeared to tell him that he doesn’t have to be scared of the imaginary monsters because, “God is the bigger.” My childhood night-time fears weren’t so much about big and hairy monsters, aka boogie men, or Godzilla in the hall. My fears were house fires – our home burning down, and “burglars” or “robbers”. But I certainly identify with lying in bed, my heart beating like a drum, my skin getting clammy, my imagination in overdrive.

As a child, when I was scared at night, I would call out to Mum. Sometimes it took a while to get the courage to do that – after all, I didn’t want to alert the robber in the hall that I was awake!  But, despite my beating heart, somehow I also knew deep down that there really wasn’t a robber in the hallway, and that when I called, Mum would come, settle me, and then turn on the bathroom light. This light shone into the hallway, and into my bedroom. It’s amazing how comforting light is.

I recently preached on fear and shared three biblical strategies for facing fear – truth, faith and hope.

One thing I’ve discovered in my own life is a tendency to suppress fear. To lock it away in a padlocked cupboard and make it a no-go zone. I don’t do it intentionally – it’s more a subconscious, protective manoeuvre when the fear, like the boogieman in the Veggie Tales song, is big and hairy and casting shadows in my life. I’ve also discovered that this is not the healthiest way to deal with fear!

Just like the bathroom light brought comfort and truth to my childhood night-time fears, the truth of God’s Word can bring light and comfort to our fears. 

But what does this actually look like in our lives?  How does it play out?  For me, it takes intentionality. Let’s consider a practical and hypothetical example of fear: “I might lose my job”. If I was feeling fearful of losing my job, it’s easy to shove that fear away into that padlocked cupboard. However, if you’re anything like me, it doesn’t go away. It has a tendency to grumble and growl and grow. It calls out things – “this would be a terrible thing”, “it will ruin you financially”, “life as you know it will be over”, “you’re a failure”, “how will you tell people?”, “you’re going to end up on the streets”, “what will people think?”. We keep suppressing it, thinking if we ignore it that it will go away, but the growling and grumbling and growing leaves us with a knot in our stomach and tension in our mind. 

But… what if instead of locking it away, we exposed it with the truth of God’s Word. If we actually brought it out and faced it?

What if I really do lose my job?  There’s much I may not know, but I can know the following:

What is a surprise or unexpected or unknown to me is not a surprise, unexpected or unknown to God. He already knows everything that will happen to me.

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Psalm 139:16

I can trust that my Heavenly Father knows the needs I have and will provide and care for me.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:31-33

Losing my job may be really hard, but God will be with me to help me. I’m not alone.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Even if the worst happens, God is able to work this for good in my life.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

One of the many occasions I have done this was when we were in a situation of financial difficulty many years ago. We’d just received the phone bill, and I had such a sick feeling of fear that we wouldn’t be able to pay it. It was really worrying me. Then I thought, “so what?” What if we can’t pay our bill and they disconnect our phones? We aren’t going to die if we don’t have phones. It will be inconvenient, but we’ll get by. Even if things financially get worse and we lose our home, it’s highly unlikely we’ll end up on the streets or hungry or without clothes. We have friends and family that would care for us. We live in a country with social services. We have each other. God has always made a way, always provided for us, and there were no reasons to doubt He would continue to do so. He is faithful! As I faced it with truth, I realised it wasn’t something to be so worried about and I was able to trust God!

And we paid our phone bill, for the record. God provided.

In the face of fear and difficulty, I like to pause and pray, “Holy Spirit, what would you say to me now? Please give me a verse from your Word I can hang onto.”

Often the Holy Spirit graciously pre-empts me! I’m feeling that knot of fear or stress, and the Holy Spirit brings a verse or passage of God’s Word to mind. Perhaps it’s through my daily Bible reading, or maybe a friend sends me a Scripture.

Many times the Holy Spirit reminds me of His faithfulness in the past. “God of Camembert cheese”, “God of dining room chairs” and ”God of the backpack” are specific stories of God’s grace and personal care that I hang onto. (I’m happy to share those stories with you – just ask me). God has never failed, and God is not going to drop the ball in the first time of all eternity with me!

But honestly? Sometimes I just forget and go too far down the road of worry and fear before I realise what I’ve done. I need to come back and ask for forgiveness for not trusting God, for forgetting His faithfulness, His character, His Father heart, His care. Then I remind myself of truth. And remind myself again. And remind myself again. And remind myself again. I’m going to be reminding myself for the rest of my life.

Trusting God, shining the truth of God’s Word on my fear, doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings, or my circumstances instantly change. But those feelings of fear or worry or anxiety alert me to the invitation to come to God. They alert me of the choice laid before me – the path of fear and my own imagination and negativity, or the path of truth, faith and hope. They remind me that God is with me, and I don’t have to face life alone. That I can come to God. That in the midst of my circumstances I can know a peace that surpasses understanding. That I serve a good God who only ultimately writes good stories.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

What a blessing that God, in His gracious provision, has gifted us with such access to His Word, and that we have the Holy Spirit to make it alive in our hearts.

May God bless you abundantly.

 

Your Care Team Pastor,

Donna

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

2 Comments

  1. Heather Corbett

    Thank you, Donna. I do know He is a God of all comfort, I just need scripture verses popping into my head at times of need. You just seem to have a word in season for me at the moment. God bless

    Reply
    • Donna Hill

      Thank you Heather. We are praying for you! I love the reminder of this verse in Psalm 94:19 – “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” May you find consolation in God’s Word, His care and His promises.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

SUPER SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIANS

Spare a thought for those people who are often overlooked by churches—and if they are Christians—they frequently struggle to even find a suitable church where they can deepen their relationship with Christ. Often we think of those who struggle with life as those who are “down and out” and blighted by impoverishment, or destitution, or ill-health, or family breakdown, or poor mental health. But surprisingly, even those who are seen as super-successful because of their wealth, social stature, public acclaim or amazing achievements, are actually struggling with loneliness, emptiness, and poor mental health — even if they are a Christian. These super-successful Christians are CEOs of large companies, or world-class or national sporting champions, or internationally renowned performing artists, or A-lister actors, or media personalities, or highly sought after professionals such as surgeons or barristers. They often pay a high price for their success, including, long work hours, constant stress, public criticism, extended time away from their families, fierce competition, and strained marriages. These pressures are exacerbated by their constant travel associated with their work which also makes them vulnerable to exhaustion and extraordinary temptations. This is why these super-successful Christians need to join the kind of church that can provide them with the kind of support, counsel, and accountability that every Christian needs. Here’s how a church can become this kind of church.

MAKING CHURCH A WELCOMING HOME

For many people, making a decision to attend a church is a significant and potentially daunting decision. As they come through the front door they are entering an unfamiliar environment. It is also an environment that may be associated with preconceived ideas of what the expectations and rules of the church community may be. These people probably will not know anybody and they might have concerns that relate to their previous or current lifestyle. For those of us who are regular church attendees, it is possible that we may not fully appreciate the challenges a new attendee may be facing. When we can relate to these concerns, I believe we are better equipped to provide a warm and patient “welcome” to what we hope will become their new church home.

LOVE IN ACTION

Physical illnesses and stressful events are endemic in our society. They can be likened to the thorns that cause both pain and damage. It doesn’t take much for them to impact a person’s life in ways that they did not expect. I believe that we can become more resilient as followers of Jesus by applying an appropriate solution to a known problem. I believe that an appropriate and important part of the solution is for us to show love the way that Jesus demonstrated love during His ministry on earth.

THE TOOLS OF REMEMBERING

I like to think I have a pretty good memory.  I like to think I’m organised.  Generally, I am – I don’t double book appointments, I keep track of what I’m doing and when, I mostly turn up on time. But, on reflection, I’m not so sure this means I have a good memory.

CLOSING THE DEAL

In 1871, the American evangelist, Dwight (“DL”) Moody was preaching to huge crowds each night in Chicago. At the end of each message he would give an appeal for people to either respond immediately to the gospel message he had just presented, or at least go home and consider it. But on Sunday October 8th, 1871, a huge fire broke out in Chicago. It burned through the city for days and became known as The Great Chicago Fire. Around 10,000 people were homeless as a result, and hundreds of people lost their lives. Moody was heart-broken when he realised that many of the people who had died were the people who had attended that Sunday night meeting where he had urged them to consider accepting Christ. His deep grief over this tragedy led him to make a vow that he would never again merely urge people to simply consider accepting Christ. From now on, he vowed, he would plead with all those he preached to – to immediately turn away from their sins and turn to the Saviour. DL Moody committed his life and ministry as an evangelist to be someone who would always strive to close the deal because he was now aware—more than ever—that people’s eternal destinies were in jeopardy! 

BUILDING A MOODY CHURCH

The three things that make the Christian life exciting and enthralling are the same three things that enable a believer to develop a closer relationship with God. The combination of these supernatural gifts gives the child of God an awareness that there is more, much more, to this world than we can see, touch, taste or feel. When the Christian’s faith is grounded and buttressed in God’s Word, godly prayer, and God’s house he or she flourishes. But there are forces at play that are determined to stop the believer from reaching their spiritual destiny. While we might think these enemy forces only use the fiery darts of doubt to hinder the believer’s journey to glory, there is something that they successfully use far more often: our mood. This is why, for any church to be successful, it must discover how to build moody church.

PRAYING PRAYERS

The amazing thing about prayer, is that nearly everyone does it – but hardly anyone thinks they do it well. If you visit any Christian bookstore you will notice that the largest display of books is about prayer. And it’s not just Christian bookstores where you’ll find books on prayer. Regular bookstores also sell a wide range of books on prayer (even if they do classify them as books on ‘meditation’!). One of the most frequently searched questions on Google is, “How to pray” (which then points enquirers to over 2.3 billion web pages answering their question). But in all of human history – and two thousand years before anyone but one had ever heard of Google – there was just One person who was supremely qualified to answer this question. And fortunately for those of us who really want to know the answer to this question (without having to peruse more than 2.3 billion web pages!) He gave us the answer.

WHY SOME BELIEVE

Why is it that two people can look at exactly the same evidence and can come to completely different conclusions about it? Even more puzzling is how two equally qualified scientific experts can look at the same data and utterly disagree about what it means. This happens many times in court cases where the prosecution will call their “expert witness” to give his or her professional opinion to verify that the defendant is guilty only to have the defence to present their “expert witness” who gives his or her professional opinion as to why the prosecution’s expert witness was wrong and to prove that defendant is innocent! This at least illustrates why it is not always the quality of the evidence that leads a person to accept or reject a claim. This especially apply to the claims that Jesus Christ made. Of the four accounts in the New Testament written about His life, three of them were written by eye-witnesses and the other one (Luke’s) was written by someone who interviewed many eye-witnesses. It is with interest that we turn to the last one to be John’s Gospel, where he describes dramatic proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Yet despite these otherwise inexplicable proofs that at times thousands of people witnessed, many still wouldn’t believe. But it seems among those who did believe they all had one thing in common.

UNPACKING CHRISTIANITY

home > Pastor's Desk > 2022 > JUNE 3rd > UNPACKING CHRISTIANITY UNPACKING CHRISTIANITY I have a thing for bags. Not shopping bags or lady’s handbags, but manly bags - functional bags. A few years back I became fed-up with the number of bags I was...

HOW TO OPEN LIFE’S LOCKED DOORS

When I turned 50, I decided to do something really difficult. I enrolled in a university course to learn Biblical Greek. And, trust me when I say, this in no way is a brag – because I struggled through it and took far far longer than the average Biblical Greek student ordinarily takes to complete this course. I had to do twenty translation tests and then two major translations exams of the New Testament’s Greek text into English. I scraped through the course and somehow managed to pass it. I can testify that learning another language later in life is really hard! This is why I have the utmost respect for non-English-speaking migrants who come to our country and manage to learn English. Learning languages is not the only thing I find difficult. I envy those people who do the things easily that I find difficult to do or understand (like quadratic mathematic equations for example). Over the years I have pondered why it is that different people doing the same task can result in a person finding it incredibly easy who then gets it done quickly, and why another other person finds it next-to-impossible and as a result gives up trying to do it. I have discovered the answer to this conundrum lies in the “mat” principle.