Weeks ago, maybe a month or two, we’re sitting there talking and she says something about worry, about fear, and there was prayer after that, too. Prayer when we break into small groups of two, three, and the room is a small room but it’s funny to feel bigger when His presence comes so close. And then we are done and the meeting is over, and I go back to room, back to desk, back to homework and school, but I remember her words.
And the next morning, I’m sitting in class, kicking legs slow under the long, narrow table. And the professor has us open that Book, and I pulled my Bible out of the back pocket of the backpack, and open right up to where he says. And someone else reads, and I’m listening, really, but another section, another verse, catches my eyes, and I read that, too.
For God gave us
a spirit not of fear
but of power
And I read that verse, and suddenly, the end of class can’t come fast enough. But it comes, finally, finally, and class ends a bit early, I’m in chapel early, too. And I sit in that red, chapel chair, with the heavy backpack under my seat, and I pull out my Bible and a notebook, and I write that verse. God and Power and Love stand out strong, curly, half- cursive letters that I run the pen over and over again for emphasis. I write the word “fear” tiny; just one layer of ink, so it’s small and plain and as unimpressive as possible.
Fear’s just a small thing when you think how great, great God is.
I sat in that chapel as students filed in all around me, and the conversation buzz rose higher and higher, and I wrote that verse. Seventeen words on that notebook page, swirling, strong, letters that sink heavy with weight because one doesn’t simply talk about God’s power without feeling something deep down.
And later, when it’s night out and there’s movement on the floor up and down the hallway, I go into her room, that blue-lined notebook page clutched in my hands, and I stick it on her wall. It’s by the bed, that verse, on the wall by the window, next to a pink sticky note that’s been there so very long. She likes it, she says. Loves it. Wakes up to it every morning, falls asleep breathing confidence and peace in that verse. I’m glad I did it.
And weeks go past and heart battles aren’t won in an hour or a day or a week, and I don’t know why fear is a sweater I’d rather not be wearing, but I’m accidentally slipping into it more and more lately. Nobody likes to be afraid, and just when I’ve insulated myself safe in the depths of an imagined utopia, the hand dryer in the bathroom catches me off guard, and the instant heart grip of fear shoots all the way through my body. I force a deep breath past the pounding heart and rising irritation with my own weakness; maybe there’s good reasons to be scared, but a dryer in the bathroom at Moody Bible Institute is not one of them.
I told my heart this, but hearts are fickle things and I feel powerless when fear starts on the inside and takes the outside right along with it.
But prayer and faith and the Word of God rise from all around, and they begin to bear down on that fear root inside. And the anxiety lessens, and I get on that train and ride to the library and back, and if there’s fear in this heart, it feels small just now. And I move and I go, because life moves right forward, while the taste of fear licks up around thoughts, plans, actions.
And tonight at my desk, facing a door wide open, she appears in the space that leads from hallway to room. She steps inside, my bed’s right by the door, and she’s got that paper, that verse in her hands. I’m putting this in here for a while, she says, and she sticks that God verse right next to my bed. And those letters bold, God and Power and Love, they’re what I’ll wake up to every morning now, and the city glow slides in dim, I’m falling asleep to a verse of courage and faith right over my head.
And the words of the verse like a guard on my heart, trust and hope pour down strong, and they’re drowning out fear.