The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, January 30, 2023, was written by Cheryl Esper Balcom from Michigan.
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
John 8:31-32 NRSV
FREE FROM FEAR
I cried for the first five years of my daughter’s life. She had been alive for only eight months when she was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by growth delays. Though not life-threatening, the disorder can manifest in a spectrum of symptoms that range in severity. Her unknown future was extremely frightening for me. At first, I let my fears overwhelm me. Lies and assumptions took root in my mind and grew ferociously. Our new reality was choking me even though I claimed to trust God.
Finally, a Bible study at church showed me how to counteract my fears with the truth of God’s word. I listed all the lies I had been listening to and then replaced them with the truth. For example, when I wrote, “The future is too overwhelming to think about,” God led me to Jeremiah 29:11. Or when I worried that I wouldn’t be able to be a good enough parent, this fear was answered by 2 Corinthians 12:9. As I meditated on these truths, my fears diminished. As I continued to study more of the Bible, God’s word gave me not only freedom from fear but also perspective and hope. We don’t have to let fear consume us. When we put our fears into words, God’s word answers us with truth and hope.
Sometimes our imaginations can work against us. We imagine the numerous things that could go wrong. We become paralyzed by the enormity of our imagined obstacles that it prevents us from taking advantage of the opportunities right in front of us. Cheryl’s reflection reminds us that God’s word of truth, comfort and encouragement helps us overcome our fears. Take time this week to read God’s words to feed your spirit and strengthen your faith.
Dear God, by your grace open our eyes to what is true. Give us hope as we look to the future. Amen.
- Cheryl Esper Balcom