Are my fears a signal to surrender to God and wisely steward His good gifts?
What is the worst thing that could happen to you? As a kid, I remember dreading the chicken pox. When I got older, I began to fear death, car accidents, or robbery. With time, God faithfully addresses our fears, bringing His truth to bear on our lives so that we can live in victory and peace. I’d like to share one of these lessons with you.
Photography is a hobby that I’m passionate about. I take hundreds of pictures every month, so each year I add thousands of images to my collection of treasures. Although it’s beneficial to have all these pictures, I found it difficult to find space to store them all and back them up. My hard drives of storage had been running smoothly from the beginning, so it was easy for me to procrastinate when it came to backing up my files.
However, I soon began to fear that somehow I would lose my collection of images. I knew that losing digital files was common, but I didn’t want to spend the time and energy necessary to back them up. “I’ll get around to an efficient method eventually,” I told myself.
Recognizing Fear and Repenting of Idolatry
Once fear gains a foothold in our lives, it grows until its presence is uncontrollable. Often fear of the future can control our present state, affecting us mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Before long, fear of losing my digital images began to wear on me. It prevented me from getting to sleep at times. When I thought of losing all the time, money, and effort I had put into those precious pictures, I became very troubled. Those pictures held such great potential. They gave me purpose in life. In fact, I came to realize that they had become an idol in my heart, because I was looking to them for fulfillment.
Finally, releasing all my dreams of personal success and future achievement, I surrendered those hard drives of pictures to the Lord. It was simple and straightforward—and almost silly in a way. But I welcomed Christ back to the throne of my life. What He wanted to do with the pictures was up to Him. I purposed to be as good a steward of His gifts as I could be.
Facing My Fear
After surrendering my pictures to God, fear did not overwhelm me. I still had hard drives that weren’t backed up, but I recognized that the fact that they were still working was a blessing. I felt the need to back them up, yet I didn’t feel stressed about it. When I envisioned the scenario of a crash I felt sad, but not distressed. I found myself thanking God for functional hard drives.
Then the day of testing came. I left for work in the morning, leaving my external hard drives on, knowing that I would be using them in the afternoon. When I returned home, I realized that my computer wasn’t recognizing one of them. It had indeed crashed. The majority of pictures from an entire year of shooting were gone.
Learning My Lesson
This blow was painful, but as I said, it was not distressing. I learned that when Christ is our first love and source of joy, earthly possessions lose their supremacy and fear releases its control. The things we dread and fear—the worst things that could ever happen to us—are no longer a source of stress. If they come, they are an avenue for learning more of Jesus and for developing the character of Christ in our lives. (See Romans 8:28-29.)
The crash of that hard drive was enough of a motivation for me to get the rest of my pictures backed up. In fact, I backed up everything I could think of while I was at it! By God’s grace, I have learned a lesson in youth that would most likely have cost much more in the future, and I have gained insight into how God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.
Related Command of Christ
This testimony illustrates the command of Christ to Fear God, Not Man. (See Matthew 10:28.) James was afraid of loosing his digital images, because he found fulfillment in them instead of in God. When he surrendered his pictures to God and found his joy in God, James was able to face his fear with confidence that God would work all things together for good.