Well, my summer is over and I have moved back to school to start up my sophomore year. And I am going to be honest, I did not want to go back. I cried a lot having to leave everyone at Mount Hermon and cried a lot the first night staying here. I am terrified of this school year. It is a weird combination I am carrying around in my heart. I am both excited because God has made it abundantly obvious that He wants me here for this next school year but I am also overwhelmingly scared that it will be another year of chaos. I remember this time last year, coming into Jessup for the first time, and being so excited, expecting nothing but the best out of my freshman year of college. But I also remember how not too long after that, everything turned for the worst and I was capitulated into yet another battle against the brokenness of this world. This summer, I felt continually in God’s presence, continually being used in mighty ways, growing in my knowledge of the Lord and His word, and discovering a fiery passion for the life God has called me into. I was able to heal and become refueled, filled up as I knew that this season would end and I would have to return to the battlefield I would be calling home for the next year of my life. I didn’t want to leave, but I know God wants me here. I am not sure why, and it has been hard though it has only been a few days to trust the God’s purpose for me is bigger than I can see right now. After experiencing what life is like when you are thriving in God’s love, it is difficult to come back to school, a place where you can’t help but realize the enemy still has power on this earth.
I have spent a large majority of my life living in fear. After the trauma of my high school years, PTSD was a battle I had to fight. Even now, I still notice some of the leftover effects, like it’s difficult for me to sit passenger in the car, certain smells freak me out, and key scenarios will set my heart beat a million beats a minute. I spent high school walking around my campus jumping at every little noise, hiding in the bathroom when things got too overwhelming. I spent the second half of my first year of college dreading having the leave my dorm, heart beating, sweat dripping down my neck as I had to walk into a class, or the cafeteria or even just walk to my mailbox to pick up the package my mom sent me. I would be in physical pain as my legs would go completely numb from the tension they held, and my shoulders are now permanently attached to my earlobes. It is interesting to me that two very similar situations happened in my life both in my freshman years. Satan never changes tactics.
But what a way to live, right? Living in fear is no fun at all and I can tell you that from experience. Letting fear run your life is just not even living. And here I am, afraid again. Afraid of this next year of my life, afraid of what might happen. Considering all that I have been through, it would make sense for me to feel this way. In fact, one might even say I have a right to feel like this. Psychologically I SHOULD be afraid because there is no way a young girl of 19 should be able to overcome such horrific scenarios, not just happening once in her life but twice. Ah, but guess what? God does not call me to live in a spirit of fear. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoptions as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15). And boy do I cry “Abba! Father!” What does it mean to not live in fear? How could I who have experienced nothing but live without? It brings me back to this, “We have this sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever…” (Hebrews 6: 19-20). This verse has two parts to it that relate to my situation. The first is, “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” Oh how that just brings a peace to my heart! If there is anything I value in this world, it would be security. People who make me feel secure, not only in who God has called me to be but also emotionally and physically, are people I value above all others (mostly because those kinds of folk have been rare in my life). And Jesus is my security. Jesus is my safe refuge, “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” (Psalm 18:1-3). And if this is true, which it is, how can I be living in fear? “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” (Romans 8:31-33). So, let us recap, if Jesus is our sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, meaning we can fully trust and rely on Him, AND He is our stronghold, shield, and safe refuge, delivering us from our enemies, AND with all this being true, meaning God is in fact on our side, who could come up against that? So why am I living in fear right now? Because I am not living in light of the truth of the Scriptures. The second part of this, “a hope that enters into the inner place…” This is awesome guys listen to this, “’But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice and died. Then the curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces, from the top to the bottom (Matt. 27:50-51).’ The curtain is nothing short of the curtain of the Temple. The veil that hung before the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies, you’ll remember, was a part of the Temple no one could enter. Jewish worshipers could enter the outer court, but only the priests could enter the Holy Place. And no one, except the high priest on one day a year, entered the Holy of Holies. No one. Why? Because the shekinah glory-the glory of God was present there.” This is the inner place. This is God’s holy presence and as it says many, many times in scripture, we will enter into God’s presence eternally. That is the promise we receive as adopted sons and daughters of the king, that is the whole reason for the faith and the hope that we have in the Lord. And this hope, this hope is erases all fear. What is there to be fearful of? We know that all that happens on this earth will eventually be just a speck in the distance once we enter into heaven. We know that that is what is waiting for us on the other end of this journey. We have this sure and steadfast anchor, we have a hope to enter into God’s presence forever, where fear will be nothing but a memory of things passed. And guess who will be there waiting for us? “…where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever…” Jesus has already gone to heaven on our behalf. He already died the gruesome, painful, fearful death for me. I do not have to be afraid of anything, not even death itself. And the best part is Jesus will be there forever, and I with Him. So, as I sit here, afraid for this next school year, I choose to lean into these promises. I choose to praise God for what He has done in sending His son for the specific purpose of saving my helpless little self. I choose to have faith that better things are coming, maybe no in this lifetime, but after it. I know that God is for me, I know He is my sure and steadfast anchor, my hope for the future. And today I look at my flesh, my flesh that tells me I have gone through too much to let the fear go completely, and I say “My God is bigger than me. My God is stronger than me. My God is mighty to save me from myself.” I do not have to live in fear, I am not called to live in fear but to live in the opposite. To live in faith. “Now, Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
I come to you today with a humble heart, as I realize how weak my flesh is without you. I so easily fall into the enemies’ traps, the ones I know are coming. I cry out to you now asking that your Holy Spirit would renew in me a Spirit of life, a Spirit of freedom, a Spirit of confidence in the promises you made through your son. Use me Lord, I am a vessel for you. Do not let me become distracted from the path you have called me upon. I know that I am here for a reason, for a purpose and let me not forget that. God, you are so so good and I love and adore you beyond words. I pray this all in your Son’s name, your Son who sits next to you on the throne with the sole purpose of interceding for me. How great are you Lord!