God's Compassion for His Fearful Flock

3 Minutes of Courage Devotional Series
Years ago, I relocated from Southern California to South Carolina. Shortly after the difficult moving process, I slipped into the darkest depression of my life. I became suicidal, to the point of formulating plans. I knew these thoughts were not normal, but I also was scared about what seeking treatment would mean. You see, I had been hospitalized for self-harm at the age of 17. Back then, I battled depression, severe anxiety, and eating disorders–all of which stemmed from a series of traumatic events in my life. 17 years later, I felt that confessing my problems and seeking treatment would mean I had failed to exercise faith as a disciple of Christ.

After consulting our insurance company, I learned there was only one choice for getting medical help. Because existing insurance coverage didn't transfer to South Carolina, the only way I could be seen for an evaluation was to go to the emergency room for funneling into the local mental hospital.
I had to face my paralyzing fears about seeking treatment and
walk myself into a place I did not want to go back to.
Friends, I tell you the only thing that got my feet to move my body through those glass sliding doors was a Scripture the Spirit brought to mind as I got out of the car. I cannot describe how desperately I clung to those words through my tears, like a piece of driftwood in a storm barely keeping afloat:
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3 ESV)
Whatever your hard situation might be, know that Jesus doesn't expect stoicism (John 11:35). There are scary things in this world. There are frightening things happening all around us. We are constantly bombarded with the overwhelming and inexplainable and devastating circumstances of broken life. But God has a tender way of hushing us in our fear. Not through rebuke, but through invitation (Matthew 11:28).

When we are afraid, God invites us to find refuge in him. Imagine a mother rocking her frightened toddler, consoling him with whispers of comfort and assurance, "Do not be afraid. I'm with you. I'm here" (Isaiah 41:10) You do not hear a tone of condemnation in her voice, but one of gentleness and sincerity. This is how Jesus cares for the fearful ones in his flock. They tremble and shake–he kneels and consoles (Psalm 94:18-19).

Fear not, little flock, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Luke 12:32, Matthew 28:20).

If you battle against fear in your life, I pray you will accept God's invitation to take respite under his wings. Nestle into his bosom of grace, bury your head in the down of his mercy. He will not tire of your need of him (Isaiah 41:17)! Pray to make his gentle invitation a sustaining grace for today:
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Christine M. Chappell
Christine Chappell is the author of Clean Home, Messy Heart, and is a guest contributor at Desiring God. She writes frequently about mental health topics at her blog, has completed biblical counseling certificates with the Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship, and is currently pursuing certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.
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