The greatest thing that I have had to deal with… on a daily basis… over the last ten… or to be more accurate, I would really have to say thirteen years… with the attack upon my beautiful wife’s health is FEAR! I add the extra three years as I can clearly recall being concerned about the little changes in Piper’s physical features that were becoming evident to me while on our 30th Anniversary vacation week back in 2005.
These things may not have been noticeable to most others, but as someone who had spent a majority of his time since High School looking at this particular woman, the little changes, the loss of weight, the tension lines around her eyes and the subtle but definite change in that unmistakable gleam that has always radiated from her eyes were quite visible. As time went on the changes became more outstanding followed by some chilling negative reactions that required immediate medical attention.
Throughout each and everyone of these changes, the immediate reaction that I encountered was FEAR. Over the years in Piper’s and my Christian walk we learned a lot about this overwhelming and most employed tool of the devil called FEAR… But when push-came-to-shove in this… the most difficult situation that I have ever been faced with… it looked like I still had a lot to learn!
One of the very first scriptures that I ever had some detailed teaching on and memorized was from 2 Timothy 1:7. It was on the occasion of the first Jr High Snow camp up in the Sierra Nevada mountains that we took our youth group to back in 1976 when the four Youth Pastors spoke on the four major emphasis points of this verse… FEAR, power, love and a sound mind. And in the ensuing years I have regularly gone back to that verse only to discover new layers of understanding.
Needless to say, this scripture has been one of the foundational sections of the Word that has helped Piper and I to survive the everchanging events surrounding the attack of Alzheimer’s in her. From the very beginning I have been alerted to the presence and power of FEAR whenever something has happened to Piper. I have to say though… for some reason… maybe it’s just something rebellious in me or the years of pumping the Word into me, that when I am personally attacked with an emotion of FEAR or sense it in someone I may be with, something always tends to rise up in me and I instantly find myself wanting to rebel against that evil emotion… and to be honest… sometimes I also want to rebel against the person allowing FEAR to be expressed through them.
What I have learned about is the awful responses that come to and through someone when they yield to FEAR. This tool of the evil one makes people say and do all kinds of crazy, unthinkable and insensitive things that many times result in false accusations that come from the incorrect scenarios that FEAR constructs in their minds. And believe me… it is very difficult to walk in love when people around you “loose self-control” (Proverbs 29:18 ERV). It becomes painfully obvious that they’ve lost sight of the peace, love, wisdom and joy in the midst of trying times that can only come through a presently active faith in God and His Word.
What I’ve come to learn is that I have to IMMEDIATELY slam the door shut to any and every approach of fear in my life… on a daily basis! My experience has been that any allowance given to FEAR when emergency situations arise within my wife, will result in the IMMEDIATE reactions of anger, hopelessness, confusion and distraction from attending to the physical and spiritual medical responses that Piper might need at that particular moment and situation. As far as I am concerned… FEAR has NO PLACE in our home!
With all this going on in my own life and my need to daily deal with FEAR, I have become very sensitive to the onslaught of FEAR around me wherever I go and in whatever I see including the different events reported on the news of things happening around the world! Those same reactions to FEAR of anger, hopelessness, confusion and distraction from the truth are demonstrated in many people almost every time we have a major event around the globe. If it wasn’t so sad, I could almost laugh when folks get so taken in with FEAR that they begin to say and do things that if you really took a moment to think about it… don’t make lot of sense!
In my daily activities alone at home with my wife, I find it imperative to my physical health, emotional stability and most importantly to my faith in order to stand firm against any and all attacks of FEAR. I’ve yielded to it a few times, but thank God, have quickly realized that the anger, sense of hopelessness, confusion and the resulting tangible lack of common sense and wisdom quickly blurred the directions that I could sense God wanting to lead me with for that particular situation… many of which I had never experienced before. (I did put a nice sized dent in the wall at our last apartment… which did nothing for the situation except give me a sore hand and a wall to repair!)
I freely admit, that even with all the volumes of reading that I have done and the multitude of conversations that I have had with medical professionals concerning the attack of Alzheimer’s on Piper, that I was NEVER prepared for all that has and continues to happen with her. The changes in her are heart-breaking, life-challenging and at times on the verge of being down-right scary! (I was telling our daughter the other day that I finally understand what it feels like to experience heart-break as your heart physically feels at times like it is actually being torn apart inside of you!)
With all of that going on… I CANNOT take the chance of yielding ANYTHING to FEAR! I need to keep a level head, stay in peace and continue to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It’s imperative that I slam that door of FEAR closed before I allow any of it to get on or in me!
And you know… even though you may not be going through exactly what I am, I’m sure that you have other important battles that call on you to also IMMEDITELY slam shut the door of FEAR in your life! Is that true?
Don’t allow FEAR to have any kind of a foothold in your life. Instead keep a firm grasp on your faith by continually filling yourself with His victorious Word of promise to you! I would suggest that you memorize 2 Corinthians 2:14 and to shout it to any and all attacks of FEAR by boldly declaring: “Now - When? NOW, in your current situation and need! - thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” (KJV)
And also be comforted in the knowledge of His promise to you that He “hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV) Then resist the attack of FEAR and walk forth in the Godly characteristics that he has given you of His Power to overcome ANY situation, His Love that guides and gives you peace, and an uncanny Soundness of Mind that enables you to make the right decisions at the right time!
Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to NOT allow any FEAR to have ANY part of my life today?”