There I sat, anxiously awaiting the doctor. Something the nurse asked left me fishing for answers in what-ifs racing at top speeds through my head.
As quickly as she disappeared through the slightly jarred door, my mind drifted back to first-grade. I could hear the flutters of my speeding heart while every emotion within screamed – RUN! As the door opened and I took my first step inside, my heart hinged on my classmates’ responses. Gasps followed by soft whispers filled the room. I can’t say I blame them. After all, other than Halloween, how often do you see a fiery redhead sporting a pirate’s patch on one eye?
Moments later, the doctor walked in jolting me from the vivid memory. “Have you had a recent eye injury,” he asked, peering over the manila folder.
“Not unless you consider an occasional poke with a mascara wand,” I chuckled, restlessly shifting in my chair.
I knew my vision had worsened throughout the years but, beyond being a lazy eye, I never gave it much thought.
Now, sitting in the doctor’s office decades later, the flutters came rushing back as my heart hinged on the doctor’s response. Butterflies with dragon-sized wings pelted my stomach as he discussed the degenerative eye disease, leading to blindness. Stressing the need for surgery, he explained a new procedure rather than a complete cornea replacement. But, still in the youthful stages of review, it didn’t come without a laundry list of casualties.
Weeks past and as surgery drew near, my initial “sign me up” attitude dwindled like the last flickering of a candle’s wick. Increasingly, I became more nervous about the relatively new procedure still under FDA review. Questions played ping-pong ball with my emotions, and I was not winning the game.
Fear was flattening my faith.
With two friends praying over me the day before surgery, God deposited a sweet word deep into my soul that no casualty could steal: “Esther, you’ve been so concerned with the FDA’s lack of approval you’ve forgotten who I AM. You have the FDA’s approval – your Father’s Divine Approval. Walk by faith in Me not by sight in your circumstances.”
In my fleshly attempt to work things out, I had begun to live by sight not faith; placing my trust in humans with limits rather than my limitless God. The fear of losing my eyesight was blinding me from seeing Him, clouding my vision of His faithfulness. When the doctor walked out that day, the enemy walked in. Depositing fear into the unknown crevices, he created division. When the dense fog of fear rolled in, the visibility of His deliverance rolled out.
Faith had to become my sight.
Faith had to direct my actions, steer my thoughts, and stampede all over my fear. I had to change my view from how bad my perceived circumstances were to how GREAT my God is. Like David in Psalm 43:5, I had to instruct my heart, not allow it to guide me.
What about you? Has disappointment and uncertainty fogged your vision of God? Are you facing circumstances that are blinding you from His faithfulness? Do you have a misplaced trust in someone or something rather than God?
God is calling you into deeper waters with Him; waters where fear of unknown circumstances seems overwhelming. It’s in the storm you realize you can walk on water above the waves of circumstance, but you have to walk out of the boat. When fear of your situation roll in unsuspectingly like waves tossing your boat of normalcy, flatten your fear with F.A.I.T.H.
F – Focus On His Faithfulness
Even when your faith is drowning in a sea of circumstance, He remains faithful. Keep God’s faithfulness as the center of your attention. Psalm 36:5 says, “Your steadfast love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” Although there is no end to the heavens and His love for you is limitless, His faithfulness is seen as that of the sky. So meditate on His faithfulness in your past or from the multitude of stories found in His love letter to you – Scripture.
- Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalm 36:5
- The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
- If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:13
- You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
What you focus on you magnify, so choose to magnify His faithfulness.
A – Ask For His Strength
When you feel drained by what you see, draw strength from His mighty power. His power is complete, and He will not fail to rescue those who call on Him. There is no one like Him to help the powerless against the mighty giants of fear (2 Chronicles 14:11). All power and might are in His hands; hands that freely give to you. Lean on His strength to lift your shield of faith; extinguishing the flaming arrows of the enemy intended to bring destruction (Ephesians 6:16). His power, strength, and might are made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). So give God your weakness, and He will give you His strength.
- He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
- Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10
- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
I – Invite His Will
Denying yourself, picking up your cross and following His will is seldom easy. Understanding, not only does God KNOW the plans He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11) but that NOTHING can come against those plans (Proverbs 21:30) is freeing. When your compass is lacking, ask Him for direction. He promises to give you all the wisdom you need and make your path straight. Seek to fulfill His will, His righteousness, His kingdom, and every other puzzle piece will fall into place.
- Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
- If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
- But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
T – Thank And Praise Him
Gratitude and praise is the doorway for seeing the miraculous. Thanking Him doesn’t mean your problems don’t exist, only that you believe more in your God than the swirling circumstances ripping through your life. Thanksgiving opens the door for His presence and weeds out complaining thoughts. Praise is the key to unleashing His presence in your life and over your situation. Thanksgiving and praise release God’s peace, giving you a heavenly perspective for your earthy issues. Ultimately, this sacrifice – offering of self-denial and surrender – is God’s will for your life and makes it easier to “I” invite His will into the situation.
- Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- Whoever sacrifices a thank offering glorifies Me and makes a way; I will show him the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23
- Devote yourselves to prayer being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2
- Through Him, then, let us continually offer to God the sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15
H – Hold Tight Hope
Don’t lose heart. I’ve been there too. His eyes are on you. He sees your struggle, tenderly holds onto your hand, and faithfully leads you through the valley. Blessed are YOU who trust in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. YOU will be like a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out its roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat comes (Jeremiah 17:7). Stand with me, friend, as we fix our eyes not what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Hold tight to hope; it is the firm and secure anchor for your soul.
Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Psalm 3:2-6
- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
It’s been three weeks since surgery and, wouldn’t you know, nothing I was concerned with actually came about. The enemy will use any crack to seep lies of defeat and misguided trust in an attempt to flatten, cloud, and blind your vision of God. But faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17), so repeat these steps as often as you need – out loud! God’s Word is the most powerful weapon against fear and defeat, and it does not return void (Isaiah 55:11).
The Lord is on your side so do not fear (Psalm 118:6). As Elisha prayed, I pray that your eyes are open to see there are FAR more for you than against you (2 Kings 6:16)!