Fear. It’s in our nature. It is the enemy’s primary fuel to detract our eyes from Jesus and oppress our lives. Fear can grip us to the core where it produces anxiety, anger, lack of self control, and even shame. It can govern our daily decisions and emotions away from God’s perfect plan for our lives.
“No Longer Slaves” encourages us to be free from fear’s grip. The lyrics testify of restoring relationship with our Father- who first embraces us as His child -and walks out our fears with us in perfect love.
I first heard this song when I was preparing to speak in front of and serve thousands of women and children in Uganda. To say I was afraid and anxious would be an understatement. But I realized, just because I am afraid to do something does not mean that God isn’t in it. I needed to step out, fear and all.
God used my daughter, Mia, to display this truth so well to me. She has been a climber since she could crawl. She would joyfully climb on anything, no matter the height, or the danger involved. One day at the playground, when she was 6, she was hanging upside down on the monkey bars and a friend ran up from behind and tickled her. It frightened her and her legs released. Gravity was not our friend that day and she fell hard. She was physically okay with some scrapes, but from that moment on, she was gripped with fear of climbing again.
Despite this, I knew I didn’t want this to be ingrained in her memory: for her love of climbing to be replaced by fear. So, we wiped away the tears, gave hugs, kisses and band-aids and I put her right back on the monkey bars. She was afraid at first and struggled, but with my guidance she did it, albeit hesitantly.
A few days later, as I was to packing to leave for Uganda and went out to check on Mia. She was nowhere to be found. I called her name, and she responded joyfully, “Hey Mommy!” I followed her voice to the end of our driveway where she had climbed up our neighbor’s young oak tree that was swaying in the wind. My sweet Mia was so high that she was waving excitedly at our neighbors who were at their 3rd floor window!
Seeing her, I was reminded of the time when she wanted to give up climbing after her fall the year before. If I hadn’t taken her hand, encouraged her through it and cheered her on, she would not have climbed to the top of that oak tree.
God spoke to me through this moment with “No Longer Slaves” in my mind. He said, “I will be with You in Uganda.” This was all I needed to hear. There were many moments of fear, but by stepping out, inviting Him to guide me like I did with Mia, He was able to use me to encourage the oppressed Ugandan women.
In the song there is a verse that says, “You split the seas and they walked right through it, our fears are drowned in Perfect Love, I am a child of God!” The Israelites were likely terrified after leaving Egypt. Can you imagine the scene? A huge body of water split in two in front while Egyptians were rapidly approaching offering merciless death from behind? Their fear no doubt must have been overwhelming. Yet, they knew their God who was leading them through, so they stepped forward, DESPITE their fear. And they walked into freedom.
We all have fear to some extent. Fear of man, fear of failure, fear of losing control, fear of pain, fear of spiders, fear of –you can fill in the blank. But here is the Good News, Jesus died so that we don’t have to be controlled by fear. That night in the Garden of Gethsemane, He sweat blood because of His fear of the torture and death He would endure on the cross. Yet, He knew His greater purpose and walked out of the garden in love anyway; and He endured the cross. Because of His sacrifice, we can walk in freedom as we lean into Him for strength.
Galatians 4:7 says, “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son/daughter; and if a son/daughter and heir of God.”
Invite Him to walk out your fears with you. He wants you to get back on the monkey bars and climb with Him.