How do You Lose the Fear?

“Oh my soul, You are not alone, There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know…”

-Casting Crowns

I love that line.  There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know.

We have all known fear in our lives, and probably now more than ever.  Whatever symptoms you’re dealing with (including fear itself), it’s hard not to be afraid that you can’t handle what you’re going through.

The truth is, none of us can handle this.  Just like soldiers who see horrific things in battle, our brains and bodies were not made to manage this stress.  God designed us to live in a peaceful, perfect paradise with Him.

But then sin entered into that relationship when Adam and Eve listened to “the spirit of fear”.  Satan made them question God’s promises and it scared them enough that they took matters into their own hands.snake-1634293_1920

Yet still, that fear has to face the God you know.

That spirit of fear that you deal with is a very real enemy.  It is a tool used by the enemy of your soul to try to undo you, to make you feel hopeless, helpless and uncertain of truth.  Think about it:  Satan can’t have you if you’ve accepted Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for your sin.  So Satan will harass you instead, hoping that God will look like a fool.  But God ALWAYS WINS.  And if you belong to Him, you always win too.

I’ve written about this before, but the story of Job really blesses me.  Probably not for the reason you think.  It’s not because God restored twice what Job lost (family, health and possessions).  It’s not because Job had the strength to say things like, “He knows the way that I take, and when He has tried me I shall come forth as gold” (Job 6:23).  It’s not because Job got “schooled” in how powerful God is.

I love hearing about Job’s experience because once again Satan was wrong.  The spirit of fear lost.  God allowed Job to go through all of his suffering because God knew that He was going to get Job through it.  That might make God sound malicious for allowing that level of pain.

But God knows the end from the beginning, so He gave Job the incredible responsibility of being in the middle of a tug of war between good and evil.  He would be instrumental in God’s eternal plan to continually show Satan that he will not win in the end and his horrible fate is sealed.  And thousands of years later, we would still be looking to this guy to learn about the awesome power of our God over every attack of the enemy.

The spirit of fear is absolutely real in the spiritual realm.  It’s not just you; you are not weak because you have a hard time standing up to fear in benzo withdrawal and recovery.  The apostle Paul talked to young pastor Timothy about the spirit of fear when he told Timothy that spirit wasn’t from God (2 Timothy 1:7).  predator-2217941_1920

But the same spirit of fear cowers before your God.  You don’t have to cower before it.

So how do you lose fear in the midst of mental and physical pain?  What if fear is one of your main symptoms and you feel powerless against it?  You do what dozens of others in the Bible did when they faced persecution, torment or torture and what millions of persecuted Christians do today.  You spend time with Jesus so that He can give you boldness and peace that passes understanding.

Impossible you say?  If Jesus said He can give you peace that makes absolutely no sense in the midst of our circumstances, was He saying that to everyone besides those who go through benzo withdrawal?  Um, no.  Peace that passes understanding is not a physical or mental thing, it’s a spiritual reality.

You have already encountered the risen Jesus.  He has forgiven you if you’ve repented of your sins.  He has secured eternal life for you.  He has sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of you as your comforter, helper and guide.  And “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”

So lay your fears at His feet, even if you have to do it a dozen times a day.  And enjoy this verse as much as I do:  “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”

HALLELUJAH!

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Why Us?

Is there a harder word in the English language than the word “why”?

I don’t mean hard in the sense of spelling or pronunciation, but in all of the emotion that can be wrapped up in a three letter word.

There was a time in my life when I never questioned anything.  Life was just going along…I became a Christian at some point…things were never easy…but I never questioned whether I would make it to the next day.

And I rarely asked God “why?”.  Because usually if I was going through a bad experience, it was because I had sinned and done something that I knew would bring a bad consequence.  Even still I felt like I could have a say in the outcome, and things would eventually be okay.question-mark-2123968_1920

Well We Know What Happened Next

Of course when you’re dealing with benzo withdrawal and recovery, you don’t get to choose the outcome (what you will experience and the day it will be over).  So as I’ve walked this road  before and am walking through it again (completely by no choice of my own), that three letter word keeps popping up.

“Why God would you allow me to go through this again?  You got me through before and I gave you all of the glory (I think) and now again?”

This question is not unique to us.  I know five children who lost their dad last week when he had a massive heart attack on vacation.  I know people who have had recurrences of cancer.  I know a young man who has had 11 brain surgeries because physicians didn’t catch an infection before it went to his brain.  I know friends who have lost their home because of financial struggles year after year.

So we all ask why.  We all want an answer.  We think God doesn’t respond.  Until we read His word.

Example After Example

As we know, God is sovereign and doesn’t need our permission to do or not do anything.  While that sounds like He doesn’t care that we are in pain and just does what He pleases, we need to keep remembering the back story.  Everything that God does and allows has an incredible, eternal purpose.  healing-2324777_1920

The way to believe and understand this is to read or listen to His word and see what He is really like.  This morning, I was reading in the book of Acts, chapter 4, about the time when Peter and John prayed for a crippled man in Jesus’ name and he was healed.

If you’re anything like me, you think, “Okay God.  If I’m just supposed to pray in Jesus’ name and be healed as this man was, why am I not healed?”  Because, again, everything that God does and allows has an incredible, eternal purpose.

The Bible only introduces us to this crippled guy on this day in the book of Acts.  That’s when we meet him.  We didn’t meet him when he was born crippled and his parents asked “why?”.  We didn’t meet him day after day after day that people carried him to the gate called “Beautiful” so he could beg for money.  I’m sure every day he asked, “why?”  We have no idea how old this man was, but if he was called a man, it had to have been over a decade that he spent every day like this. [CORRECTION–later in the chapter we find out he was over 40 years old!]

Then Peter and John encounter this man.  And in the name of Jesus and because of his faith he was healed.

So why was he crippled for years?  Because on a day that God had appointed before the foundation of the world, he would be healed in Jesus’ name.  And we would be reading about it 2,000 years later to give us hope.  Because on a day that God has appointed before the foundation of the world, you will be healed in Jesus’ name too.

How Do I Hold On Until That Day?

If you’re naturally a control freak like me,  or if you are fearful that you can’t decide how your day will go, I suggest looking more at God than at yourself.  Sounds impossible, but for years I thought, “How can I do this?  How can I hold on?”.  I’ve had more days than I can count that I never thought I’d survive and yet I did.

Did I do it?  Of course not.  God did.  You think you’re the one holding on and you have to try harder to do it?  Nope.  God is doing all of the holding.  He is above all of your struggle and isn’t it awesome that He is?  We don’t have to figure it all out.  We just have to keep our eyes fixed on Him.  I know you’ll say “But I have to make a decision about my taper, or about taking a supplement or whether I should go to another doctor.”

Guess what, no matter what choice you make, God is still sovereign.  You can’t screw up His overall plan.  I remember a pastor telling me that years ago when I was questioning this drug that a doctor wanted me to take to fix withdrawal.  I agonized over the choice.  I made the wrong one, but God got me through it.  It was all part of my story for one reason or another.

One of the reasons we suffer is so God can show us that He never leaves us.  That He has a plan.  That He is in control.  Things feel totally out of control for us, just like for my friends who are suffering with their own problems.  And yet we have to keep reading stories like the crippled man to see that there is always a “Then one day…” story for all of us.

You will make it.  There is always hope because God is your hope.  You are not your hope.  Thank God!

 

You’re Going to Make It

Hey there!

Whether you’ve arrived here from my Facebook page Christians in Benzo Recovery or just wandered in off of the street, I’m glad you’re here.

Please read About This Blog at the top so that you don’t get confused as to the purpose of these pages.  God has taught me a lot through repeated experiences with benzo withdrawal over several years.  One thing that I know for certain is that God designed the brain to react very specifically to positive and negative thoughts.

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So if you’ve come looking to see if my story is scarier than yours, you’re in the wrong place.  If you’ve come looking for tapering advice or wondering if you should take another medicine or see a new doctor, again you are in the wrong place.

This blog is all about the hope that we have through Jesus Christ.  And that focus can help change your brain as you heal.  That’s what God designed it to do.

Just so you know, I talk a lot about suffering, but I don’t do so in a way that is meant to be discouraging.  In fact, it’s supposed to encourage you.  I want you to know that God is ALWAYS loving, ALWAYS working and ALWAYS providing for you.  He wants you to be, what my friend Dave calls, “a trophy of God’s grace”.

God wants to show off through you just like He did in Job’s life.  In Joseph’s life.  In David’s life.  In Mary’s life.  In Ruth’s life.  In Jesus’ life.  His power can be made absolutely perfect in your weakness as the world sees you struggle–and yet sees how God works in you, through you and around you for your good and His glory.

Yeah it sucks.  I’d rather be on vacation at the beach.  I’d rather not have to deal with the symptoms I deal with every day.  But He has shown me that regardless, it is always possible to be present in His presence.  If you can stay there, if you can “abide”, you will find that He can get you through anything. The fact that you’re reading this is proof.

So stay with me.  You’re going to make it.  There is always hope.

-LG