One of the most fascinating aspects of God's involvement in our lives involves His capacity to transform things we once dreaded into wonderful blessings. We've all likely had the experience that causes us to wonder how fear and anxiety could have preceded gifts of such obvious grace.
"I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto Him and were lightened" (Psalm 34:4-5).
Our very faith began this way. Anticipating the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ in terms of catastrophe, the disciples sought to prevent their Lord's death, then fled in fear when it happened. "Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord, this shall not be unto Thee… Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled" (Matthew 16:22; 26:56). The cross was indeed a terrible thing. However, it led to the most glorious thing, namely, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and His redemptive capacity to "save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him" (Hebrews 7:25). Dread dissolved as the disciples realized their Lord's death led to glories that could not have occurred apart from Calvary's sorrow, pain, forsakenness, and death.
We all likely have scenarios that tempt us to fear the "What if?" Regarding such challenge, we do well to remember that the worst thing that ever happened - the cross - served as the basis of our Lord's risen exaltation and His gift to us of eternal salvation. All else pales in comparison to such transformation of dread into joy. Thus, we do well to anticipate that "God is!" supplies the first answer to every "What if?" The promise that came to Judah descends through the ages to us: "Fear not, nor be dismayed… the Lord will be with you" (II Chronicles 20:17). So long as this promise remains true, every temptation to fear and dread actually provides opportunity for the confidence that our Lord awaits us in our challenges to either deliver us from them, or in them.
Anxiety about the future calls us to the affirmation of the present - "Thou art my hope, o Lord God!" (Psalm 71:5). Whence we go, we go not alone. And where we go, Someone awaits to be all and more than we need in both blessing and difficulty. Rather than dread, we anticipate in the confidence of faith in our faithful Lord…
"I cried unto Thee, o Lord, I said, Thou art my refuge and portion in the land of the living."