Probably the most profound thing in the Bible is 'Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.' This is what, to me, is the essence of Christianity.
- Dave Brubeck
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts our fear. (I John 4:18)
“May angels watch over your sleeping head,” I say.
Isaiah closes his eyes as a smile settles on his sweet face. But as I bend down to kiss his forehead, I see the handle from his wooden pirate sword sticking out from under his pillow.
“What’s this?” I ask. I imagine that he’s been sailing the upper bunk pirate ship again. “Was Blackbeard here today?
“No,” Isaiah says. His eyes open and worry clouds his smile. “I keep it here at night. Under my pillow. For when the light goes out. In case I need to chase monsters away.”
I stand for a moment and soak in this sight. A little boy. Worried and afraid. Prepared to fight a battle that will never come.
It’s like me on the battle ground of my thought life. I imagine that bad things will happen. I conjure and call fear that then moves like a dark troop storming through my heart and mind. I willingly go to battle with an enemy whose goal is to capture and hold me in the dank trenches of fear.
Most of the things I’m fearful of will never even happen, but fret and worry pull me into the fight just the same.
But I’m getting stronger as I move deeper into an acceptance and understanding of the Lord’s love.
God’s Word tells us that perfect love casts out fear. Because of his complete, flawless love for us, I can be sure of my salvation. I need not fear judgment–there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!
And as I go to His Word, when I spend time learning of God’s love and character, I begin to understand more about His love for me. And from a growing confidence in this precious love comes peace and trust. It begins to define me.
The knowledge of this love is consuming. It ebbs into all areas of my life. It flows into my thoughts and heart and circumstances. It even moves to the places where my heart harbors fear.
It flows onto the battleground.
And His love strengthens my spirit.
And His Word, the truth of His love, becomes a weapon against fear.
I pull the sword from under Isaiah’s pillow. We talk for a few minutes–sweet whispers of about the strength of God’s love. At the end, my little boy is comforted, made stronger, and his face becomes peaceful again. I run my fingers through his summer-blond hair and it isn’t long before he falls asleep.
His chest rises and falls in a perfect rhythm of peace.
My son and me.
We’re learning to trust in God’s love.
And we’re fighting fear by holding truth.
Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.
Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications. She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward. But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.