“Grandma?” I craned my neck away from the cartoon on TV.
She’d been in the kitchen nearby just a moment ago. Now I heard nothing.
I don’t remember why I needed her at that moment, but I do remember my response to her sudden disappearance.
Panic surged through my small body as I stood and darted around the corner to the kitchen.
I jogged down the hallway, searching the bathroom, bedrooms, dining room.
My throat closed as my heart pounded in my ears. Had she gone downstairs? I’d have to face more than one fear to find out, but panic drove me on.
I flew down the staircase to the dark basement. Switching on the lights, my thudding heart lurched at the sight of the empty room.
I was alone. Completely and totally alone.
Horror squeezed my young heart. Why had she left me? Had she been kidnapped? Was she hurt somewhere? Or had she left without telling me? What if she never returned?
Imagined scenarios, each worse than the one before, spun through my mind with the force of a tornado.
She wouldn’t have gone to Grandpa’s basement workshop, would she? Desperation drove me to face the darkness of that unfinished section of the basement, despite the bugs and imaginary danger of the place that normally kept me at bay.
I forced myself to creep into the workshop, checking the little bathroom on the way.
Fear lurched up my throat, making me hold back vomit as I spun on my heels and tore back up the stairs. I started to sob as I threw open the front door and rushed outside.
She had to be somewhere. She had to be there. I couldn’t be alone.
I raced around the house, running across the grass in a blind panic.
Panting, gasping, I rounded the corner to the back of the house.
Grandma. She stood next to a clothes line, hanging freshly laundered items as if nothing was amiss, as if she hadn’t just abandoned me to terror and confusion.
I rushed to her, wanting to throw my arms around her. But I held back at the surprise that pulled her features in extreme directions.
She looked down at my feet, drawing my gaze to the socks I had never thought about covering with shoes. They were soaked and tinted green from dew on the grass.
Heat traveled up my neck as my heart still raced. I closed my lips to hide my heavy breathing and shrugged. “I didn’t know where you were.”
As the youngest of four children with a stay-at-home mom, I had almost never been alone, unless by choice for a short time. I had no idea, nor did my parents, that staying at my grandparents’ house without any siblings for a few days one summer would be so traumatic.
The fear hit the first night, when I lay in the room I usually shared with my parents when we visited and felt the emptiness of being alone. Homesickness overwhelmed me, leaving me in tears until my grandma came to me.
She slept with me every night of the visit after that. She was sweet and uncondemning, though I think my fearfulness caught her by surprise.
Even that day when I ran around the house in my socks as if driven by madness, she didn’t scold or judge. She continued to love me.
When she was near, I wasn’t afraid. Because she continually showed me how much she loved me, my fear was kept at bay.
Last week on the FW Blog, we talked about how God’s love can banish our fears. I’ve also previously written at Emily Conrad’s blog about how God’s perfect love casts out the fear of judgement. Love is a powerful weapon against fear, and there’s at least one more aspect of love’s fear-fighting strength that we should cover—how we, people to people, can use love to defeat fear.
Perhaps one of the most amazing things about the love of God is that, when Christ resides in the hearts and lives of believers, He fills us with His love to overflowing, so that His love spills out of us onto those around us. (1 Thes. 3:12)
My grandma showed me the power of love to banish fear, as her constant love for me overcame my fears while I was with her. We can do this for others, too.
When your friend or family member, or even your enemy is afraid, you may feel you don’t know how to help, how to alleviate their fears.
All you have to do is love them.
The solution to your own fears is, perhaps unexpectedly, the same. Like the mother who can lift a car off her trapped child or the soldier who jumps on a grenade to save his friends and even enemies, love can conquer your fears perhaps faster than any other fear-fighting weapon.
If you don’t know how or where to get such love, look to Jesus, the One who died for you because He loved His chosen children with a perfect, infinite love.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:16-18
When I think of laying down my life for someone else, I get scared. I don’t think I could do it. But the truth is that I could if I loved others, my brothers and my enemies, as God calls me to. The only way I could die for someone would not be due to my character or any goodness natural to me, but because Christ is in me. If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, then you have His perfect love in you.
Jesus Himself promised this as he prayed, “I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26).
Those of us who are repentant believers in Christ, then, have the power within us to face and banish any kind of fear through God’s love.
Show that love to others, and you’ll be able to love away their fears. Likewise, draw near to those who love you with God’s love in times when you’re afraid, and your fears will be loved away.
Love your neighbor as yourself, love God’s children to the max, and your fear will be crushed under the power of perfect love.
Have you experienced love conquering your fears? Or have you helped someone overcome fear through your love? Please join the conversation!