If there is one thing that I’ve been afraid of, it’s pain. I don’t like it. I have lived through years of physical and emotional pain. I think emotional pain, at least in my experiences, is worse. There are no pain reliever pills I can just take to make the hurt go away. Still, I know that experiencing emotional pain is important, even critical, to my spiritual growth. If I put up walls to block pain, they inevitably block love too.
There have been times when the fear of emotional pain was so great that I was frozen and unable to move. The more probable the likelihood of experiencing pain was, the quicker and the more severe the freezing up would occur. The enemy knows this about me and has used the threat of pain against me far too many times. I’m not proud of that. But God has been teaching me how to fight against it. Maybe children grow up faster than I’ve learned this, but I’ll take the slow progress over no progress.
In the process of teaching me how to consistently submit my thoughts to Him, He has given me comfort and strength in Christ’s Passover and Resurrection.
Christ didn’t want to die. His flesh battled fear, very possibly over the pain He would endure. He asked Father to remove the cup from Him, yet still submitted to Father’s plan no matter the cost. I don’t for a minute believe that Christ feared Father not following through and bringing Him back to life. He knew He would hold the key to unlock the captives. Death was nothing to fear for the Son of God. The process of dying was possibly a very different story.
How could a person overcome the fear of a painful death that caused him to sweat blood? I believe that He had experience based faith during His time in human flesh that caused Him to know God’s character in way we too can know. He knew that Father would not abandon Him. He new that Father’s plans were always for good and not even one tiny pinch of pain would be wasted or without purpose.
Because Jesus carried the heart of the Father, His love for all of God’s children compelled him. Who among us wouldn’t gladly lay down our life for those we love? Jesus had far more than one or two people to lay His life down for. He realized the pain He would endure would be temporary, have a purpose, and that Father would be His strength. I believe this gave Him courage to submit His flesh under the authority of the Father.
Spending time in prayer being honest with ourselves and with God, casting down vain imaginations and replacing them with what the Word says, remembering Who God is and meditating on Scriptures are all keys to overcoming fear.
When I look at what Jesus did for me, for all of us, it gives me courage. I know that by following the example He set I surrender my weaknesses to God and He gives me what I need to walk the path He laid out for me. I do as He leads and He guards me. I can confidently know that any pain He allows is under His authority. It doesn’t mean I can be reckless and it doesn’t mean that I look for painful situations. But when they appear, and they will, I can know without a doubt that just as Christ overcame, so can I. Not because of my own ability, but because of my confidence in God’s.