“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.”2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
Excerpt from Break Every Chain:
Unbearable heat encompasses me as the sun blazes overhead. My mouth is noticeably dry as I blink a couple times in an attempt to regain focus. The first thing I notice are four grey chains snuggly snapped around my small arms. I’m on my knees with my palms pressed into the dry, hard, red ground.
My head snaps up to see a man with a rich caramel complexion; black hair styled in a fade; a mustache and short but curly beard framing thick, full lips; and dark brown eyes focused on me. A thin but bleeding cut taints his normally smooth skin right above his left eyebrow. His bare chest also contains a few cuts and bruises, but a pair of dirt-stained shorts covers a portion of his legs as he too sits on his knees.
Instinctively, I reach my hand out toward him, wanting to comfort him—to ease away his pain, but my arm stops midway by the chains binding me. A frown settles on my face. I then decide that I’ll try to get to my feet by pulling my left leg from beneath me, but I’m stopped by a set of chains.
“Natasha,” he says, a lot fainter—weaker than before.
Panic starts to rise within me as I meet his weary gaze. I try pulling against the chains, which only causes the metal to graze against my skin, inciting pain and sweat to pour down my face. “Brandon! What’s going on?” I yell, frantic. He doesn’t respond as his eyelids are halfway closed.
Suddenly, a shadow falls over me. I look up to see a giant, dark grey cloud. Seconds later, I hear the sound of thunder. My eyes scan the empty space: not a tree, shrub, animal, or a speck of water within distance. While I’m grateful for the cool reprieve, a new fear of what a thunderstorm can bring wreaks havoc on my mind. My eyes find my battered husband again as I wonder how we were even in this predicament.
The cloud hovers over us with the time unknown. The cloud finally releases its precipitation as lightning bolt after bolt hits a spot but us—thankfully. Wind whips at our bodies. Chills run along my spine. Through all of this, the chains remain embedded in the ground. At some point, I’m sure my tears mixed with the sky’s. There were even times where I couldn’t even see my husband, and it was torture not being able to reach him, touch him, or talk to him.
Eventually, the storm ceases for a time, but the dark grey clouds still loom overhead. For the first time since this situation started, my stomach growls beneath my tattered clothes. Instead of focusing on that, I look to my husband again. His eyes are open and trained on me.
“What are we going to do?” I croak out through dry lips.
He utters one word: “Pray.”
Then he bows his head with closed eyes.
Bewildered and confused, I just follow his lead. He starts praying, but the only word I make out is “Jesus.” And immediately, the storm returns a lot harder than before. He was still praying. Even though I couldn’t see him, I could distinctly hear that name—the name above all names.
Even though the storm rages on, I pray with my husband. Then I move my hands to clasp them in prayer, realizing that the chains are no longer binding me. My eyes open to see the grey bands falling to the ground. Instantly, I get to my feet, seeing that they’re free too.
“Thank you, God,” I whisper, taking unsteady steps toward my husband.
In spite of his wounded appearance, he envelops me in his arms, my face pressing against his chest.
“I love you,” he mutters, squeezing me tight.
“I love you, too,” I reciprocate, feeling relief, happiness, and enamored with him all at once.
Although this snippet from my soon-to-be-released second book is a fictional account, it proves to highlight an important battle that many struggle with today: faith versus fear. It’s no secret that this month has come with a lot of challenges for many people—the most notable being the pandemic plaguing the nations. During this time, it’s impossible to ignore the reactions of the people. Some have flocked to grocery stores to gather many supplies, and some still carry on as if the situation isn’t as serious as it is. While things may look bad with the death toll rising and more cases popping up, I am reminded of what God’s word says and recall what I already know. As a child of God, I have the victory. Since life and death is in the power of the tongue, I know that I’ll be okay, that I’m covered, that God is in control. Instead of operating in fear, I choose to believe in God and trust that everything will be alright.
Fear is a chain that’s used to bind people—to deter us from moving forward and enjoying life. And in this time, if we’re not careful, other chains can take ahold of us, like depression, insecurity, and loneliness. The excerpt shows that the physical chains kept Natasha and Brandon apart; they were unable to move. Likewise, if we allow fear, depression, insecurity, loneliness, or any other negative characteristic to take hold of us, we become stuck in a bad place and miss out on so much.
Imagine having a talent that you enjoy doing. You feel good when you utilize that gift. You can spend hours with no problem honing on that gift. You’ve practiced that gift and known about it for so long that you consider it your passion with no hesitation. But one day someone diminished your talent—insisted it wasn’t that good. In a manner of seconds, that joy you had about your thing—your niche—was snatched away from you. In response, with a defeated mindset, you decide to keep your talent to yourself—you still use it, practice it, cultivate it—but your work never reaches the eyes or ears of another human being. Then I urge you to consider the scenario presented in a sermon titled “Secure the Bag” by the pastor of Transformation Church: a man gives one servant five talents, another two, and another one talent (See Matthew 25: 14-15). In the end, the first two doubled what they were given while the last one hid his talent in the ground (Matthew 25:16-18). But verse 25 of Matthew 25 reveals why the last servant did what he did: “And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.’ Now refer back to the situation, choosing to hide your talent for fear of being rejected, disappointed, or hurt again. When we operate in fear, we do not accomplish what God intends for us to do. It’s important to trust in God and not worry about things we cannot control.
Now if the talents’ scenario isn’t something you can relate to, consider this situation: coronavirus has forced a lot of establishments to shut down, resulting in loss of work, few options for entertainment, and people having to stay at home. Maybe you’re wondering about your work status—what will I do for the next couple weeks without a steady income? Will I be able to go back to work? What will this mean for the future? It becomes easy to look at the circumstances and quickly jump to panic mode, but the right response is to choose faith over fear. Faith is believing that things will be alright even when the situation looks bad. Faith is trusting God instead of fearing what will be next. Faith is anticipating the good will come to pass even though it looks like the bad is winning at the moment.
I encourage you to choose faith and let go of fear in this season. Seek God, pray, fast, read the Bible. Be safe. Enjoy the present, look forward to a brighter future. I encourage you not to let the chains of negativity, fear, doubt, loneliness, depression, etc. bind you to a miserable place. Live, love, and learn. Life’s too short to miss out on the blessings God has for you.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”Hebrews 11:1 KJV