Fearless Faith

By

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”
Psalm 23:4

“Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is better than we ever dared hope, and that to believe in that good news, to live out of it and toward it, to be in love with that good news, is of all glad things in this world the gladdest thing of all. Amen, and come Lord Jesus.”
Frederick Buechner

Do not fear.

Those three words are at the heart of the good news of Jesus. Before he enters into our wrecked lives we have good reason to fear. Before his grace restores us we are a ruin, a foggy graveyard in the dead of night. We’re too lost even to ask for direction, too feeble to beg for help. We may be wealthy, successful, beautiful, even happy–but we know that our deepest heart is a wasteland, a vast, black emptiness of stone and sorrow. To know that emptiness is to be afraid, and that fear is good. That’s the kind of fear that leads to humility, the kind of helplessness that leads to repentance.

But once we’ve heard the Lion roar, once we’ve felt the earth tremble beneath his feet as he strides through the valley of death to gather us up, when we have looked into his loving eyes and seen the forges of heaven there, when we have finally stopped running, when we have given up and have at last let him heal us where we’re truly broken, everything changes. The wasteland is green. The graveyard is a garden. Our senses sometimes tell us otherwise, and it’s hard to believe, but faith gives us eyes to see his invisible face, ears to hear his silent voice.

Those walking in darkness have seen a great light, said the prophet Isaiah of Jesus’ triumphant arrival. Here is a great mystery: that very light lives in us. In the streets of our Bethlehem, a child has been born. On the hill of our sin a man has been crucified. In the garden tomb of our hearts that man has risen and proved that he was also God all along. What have we to fear? Nothing. Yea, though I walk through the grief of my loss, through the confusion of my suffering, through the powerful sadness of getting out of bed when all seems lost, I will not fear, for he is with me. As I walk through the city, as I struggle to follow, as I pay my bills, as I fill my tank and feed my children, I will not fear. Though enemies plot, though the bombs are tested, though the nations rage, though all Hell break loose–I will not fear. He is with me.

Of all the gifts he came to bring–forgiveness, restoration, love, purpose, beauty, mercy–the one that defines our daily life in him is peace. Peace. We have nothing to fear. The maker of all things dwells within us. That idea is too wonderful, too mysterious for one sentence to contain, so it bears repeating: God himself–somehow–inhabits us. Why should we cower behind locked doors? Why should we fear men? Why should we let anxiety steal our joy?

When the angel appeared to Mary it said “Don’t be afraid.” When they appeared to the shepherds they said, “Don’t be afraid.” At the transfiguration Jesus said, “Arise, and do not fear.” When the angel appeared at the tomb it said, “Do not fear.” Again and again God tells us the same thing: fear not. Rest. Hide if you like. He’ll find you. Cower like the apostles after Jesus’ death. They locked the doors and drew the shades and trembled in the dark–and who can blame them? But deadbolts are no trouble for Jesus, who walks through walls. What were the first words out of his mouth when he dropped in on his old friends in that locked room? “Peace be with you.” And then, after he showed them his scars? “Peace to you.” What did he say the next Sunday when he surprised Thomas? “Peace to you.”

It’s as if, fresh from the tomb, toes still wet from his walk through the dewy grass, there was one thing he couldn’t wait to tell them: “You don’t have to be afraid anymore. Of anything, ever again. Rest easy, children. It is finished.”

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


31 Comments

  1. Tony from Pandora

    I knew that you’d have something worthwhile to read on Christmas morning. Thank you Andrew and the rest of the Rabbit Room folks. And a Merry Christmas to all.

  2. Dieta

    AP- a word for my heart, my soul. I should have known you would have something so certain, so necessary to say today. The woman I am closest to in the world is making her transition from this world to the next, and I am a bit lost. Your words were what I needed to hear. Merry Christmas.

  3. Luke

    “Fear not!” said he; for mighty dread
    Had seized their troubled minds
    “Glad tidings of great joy I bring
    To you and all mankind

    To you in David’s house this day
    Is born of David’s line
    The Savior who is Christ the Lord
    And this shall be the sign:

    The heavenly babe you there shall find
    to human view displayed
    All meanly wrapped in swaddling bands
    And in a manger laid”

    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Christ is born
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Christ is born

  4. Brad

    Thanks Andrew, and a very merry Christmas to you and yours. The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and give you peace.

  5. Paula Shaw

    “But once we’ve heard the Lion roar, once we’ve felt the earth tremble beneath his feet as he strides through the valley of death to gather us up, when we have looked into his loving eyes and seen the forges of heaven there, when we have finally stopped running, when we have given up and have at last let him heal us where we’re truly broken, everything changes.”

    I must say that in reading these words, I’ve once again experienced the revelation of His love for me, yet in a new way. I’ve wondered how many times in one’s lifetime can we “give up and at last let him heal us where we’re truly broken”. I think that the walk is so much a part of the healing. That the long way to the “finally stopped running” is a huge, huge part of the healing we are so grateful to finally receive. All the learning along the way, all the brokenness endured, all the painful faith-building experiences are so worth it, even if we don’t think so at the time. Thank God for the faith to “see his invisible face and ears to hear his silent voice”!
    And thank you, Andrew, for such inspiring Rabbit Room posts.

  6. Nathaniel Miller

    That was quite a nice Christmas gift you gave to the readers in this post. Thank you much. Once again, the Rabbit Room shows itself to be a mining operation – taking the scripture, art, music, books, and life and showing the wealth of beauty God has placed in them all. Well done, master wordsmith.

  7. Paul

    I’m sitting by my mom’s bed in the hospital as she sleeps. We just decided a couple hours ago that it’s best to begin hospice care. The valley of the shadow of death is here. How good to have this reminder to trust in the God who breaks in and meets us where we are with the message of peace.

    Thanks for posting this!

  8. Rael

    I’m quoting a bit of this on my blog and linking back to the Rabbit Room. Fear is one of my biggest enemies. Thanks for the reminder that my Hero came to defeat it.

  9. Jill

    Am I catching on to a “christmas in July” post?

    This was just what I needed today! Perfect timing!
    Beautiful.

  10. Derek Brown

    This is absolutely amazing. Such a solid reminder on this beautiful July morning. Thank you Andrew!

  11. Deb

    This very morning I was asking the Lord to lift my fear – He drew me here. Tragedy struck in our lives awhile ago and I’ve been really wrestling with some deep fear…for the past few months I literally have spent nearly all my days behind locked doors and drawn shades. It’s a good word that those things don’t keep the Lord Jesus out- but that He enters and brings peace with Him. Thank you Andrew – I really needed this good word today!

  12. meredith

    Today is a mile stone. My husband and I have been married ten years today. I just sat with a cup of coffee in a quiet house (a feat in itself, as we have been blessed with four beautiful children that live with us on this earth), a time to reflect and to be thankful for the treasure of my husband. We have walked an exciting, wonderful road together. A road of fear, of deep loss and sometimes a darkness that seemed too thick to breathe in. BUT perfect love drives out fear! Today we stand united only by the grace of God.

    This is the first time I have written in the rabbit room. It is in itself an act of standing in my fear, being freed up enough to give you all a piece of me (thank you all for over and over again speaking to my heart…I laugh here, and cry here, find hope here and healing….there is a rest found among you all that I so often can’t find in “christian” circles).

    So much of my story has been affected by this group of people, your music and your writing.

    Thank you for this message! One that over and over again meets us at love and grace! It is a process of relearning the gospel message for its truth rather than what man made it to be…

    Thanks again!

    Happy ten years, Love! I’m looking forward to walking through the future with you…even more I’m looking forward to the garden where all the brokenness will be redeemed and I will be fully able to love you and accept your love as I so long to….come, Lord Jesus, come!

  13. Toni W

    A timely post for me also. I can see that others are dealing with end-of-life situations, as I am with my mother. She has been living with me since before last Christmas. It is hard to watch the person that God used to give me life, fade from her own time here on earth. As she is not a believer, I see a heart with no hope, that has resigned itself to keep the chains on the door. I need to have the faith that Jesus will be there waiting, even when she is past my grasp, to be standing on death’s threshold, giving her that last opportunity to choose Life. In the meantime, all of you please pray for a miracle softening of her heart. Nothing is too big for Him. Nothing.

  14. Jaclyn

    I will be praying for your mother, Toni.

    Thank you Andrew for the soul food. Today God has finally got through to me that He is truly and tangibly the only lord I can serve. Any other master is a slave driver with a whip. Why would I use fear as an excuse to wander, when with Jesus I can finally live fearlessly, in peace?

  15. Kimberly

    Andrew, I am so grateful to the Lord for giving you this wonderful gift of encouraging us through words. Thank you.

  16. JJ

    I really needed that. Thank you Andrew.

    I can tend to put stock in what men think of me and let that dictate if I’m going to have a good day. Work is particularly difficult. As the lead of a small team (and being rather new at it) I often have to do things that won’t make people happy or will be met with resistance. But my hope isn’t in them. My hope and peace doesn’t come from whether they want to give me the cold shoulder on any given day. My hope comes from Christ. He bought me with His blood. The same Spirit that rocked the tomb and destroy death lives in me. He conquered death so I don’t have to fear death, or whether I make enemies by doing the right thing. Peace is mine because of Jesus.

  17. gina

    a very timely reading of this post for me as well…a wonderful reminder of Christ’s love and redemptive work in and for us.
    your words from the SILENCE OF GOD brought me through the worse period of my life, a time of revelation and also deliverance where i dwelled in the terrible garbage heaps of my life. it was as if i died and resurrected. thank you for your beautiful words…

  18. Dieta

    This post is once again, as for completely different reasons exactly what I needed to hear. I have been quite literally paralyzed by fear recently, and this reminded me not to let it get me. And why. The stories are true. Hallelujah!

  19. Christopher

    This is unspeakably beautiful. In the recent months I’ve come to realize that the most precious thing in my life is the peace that only comes from God. I wouldn’t trade my peace for anything and everything the world has to offer. Without Jesus my life would be ruled by fear. Thank God for the Good Shepherd! And thank you, Andrew, for sharing your amazing gifts of inspiration through words and music.

  20. Laura B

    I just realized… of all the wonderful things about the Rabbit Room, I think this is what I love most about this place, and about your music, Andrew: You folks really believe that the stories are true, and that that truth matters more than anything else in the world. Thanks for bearing witness.

  21. Shane

    I still come back to this. Years after it was written, I still come back to this – to read, to share, to think on. What a wonderful gift you have Andrew. God bless and Merry Christmas to all.

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