We all, at one time or another, harbor fears and anxiety and that’s perfectly normal. It’s the way that we handle or conquer those emotions that makes the difference. I have never really been a worrier, but some situations trouble me greatly at times. Often this is an opportunity for God to help me learn lessons of obedience and trust. I use my own life experiences to relate to others most often because it’s a real experience that has affected me in some way and, hopefully, can help others as well. This is one of those experiences.
A few months back, I was standing during worship service at Canvas and Jerod had chosen ‘Break Every Chain’ as one of the worship songs. Now if you really listen to this song you will see that it delivers a powerful message about the things that we hold on to in our lives and struggle to give up to God. During that song I had my eyes closed and was talking to God about one of my biggest fears, my finances. My income solely depends on the decision of others to want a massage as I am a massage therapist and I work off of commission. Even though I have my home and pay my bills, there are slow weeks sometimes and I tend to freak out and worry about money and I often let that worry affect my mood and I get depressed. Plus, there is the threat of illness or injury since I don’t have medical insurance and it only takes one catastrophe to ruin a person financially and I’m no different than millions of other Americans in that aspect. Financial fear was keeping me chained and bound.
While talking to God I had a vision. I saw this thick dark swirling mass that was quite frightening! As I watched with trepidation there was suddenly a huge lion that forcefully came out of the mass. His eyes were an amber color, almost as if on fire , and they were fierce! He stomped with one paw and roared, (although I could not hear it), with such greatness that the darkness immediately cleared away from Him. He then settled back and now looked at me with eyes that were so compassionate and kind and full of great love. They conveyed to me that He was my protection and I had nothing to fear. Then it all disappeared.
God had revealed to me His ability to care for me and my worries. In this vision He literally forced the darkness to go away with His very presence. I was humbled and honored to have seen this illustration of His great love. And it got me to thinking about how Jesus is portrayed as the Lion of the tribe of Judah in the bible. Revelation 5:5 ~And one of the elders said unto me, weep not: Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book and to loosen the seven seals thereof. ~ A lion. I wondered why, so I studied it a bit.
The lion is an apex predator and is referred to as the Alpha, the top level with no predators. Revelation 1:8 ~ “I am the Alpha and Omega”, says the Lord God, “who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty”. ~ Lion’s prefer darkness, as they are nocturnal, and they use it to their advantage. There is no darkness in Jesus, but He uses the darkness to show us His love. I imagine Him prowling, looking for what is in the darkness that scares us, inhibits us, leaves us feeling powerless. He attacks our enemies such as fear, hopelessness, anxiety, addictions, or whatever we struggle with, to help us live in fullness and peace. He is greater than anything that stands in our way. He roars the darkness out of our lives. He is apex personified! Hosea 11:10 ~ They will follow the Lord, he will roar like a lion. When He roars, His children will come trembling from the West. ~ Proverbs 30:30 ~ the lion, which is the mightiest among beasts, and does not turn back before any. ~
The lion is also a keystone species meaning a species that has a disproportionately large effect on its environment relative to its abundance. They play a critical role in structure. The keystone is an arch; while the keystone is under the least pressure of any of the stones in the arch, the arch collapses without it. He keeps us lifted up! Without Him we are a heap of collapsed rubble. If Jesus is your keystone your structure, spiritually speaking, will remain solid. He will help us conquer our fears by us knowing that He is the keystone in our structure and is always with us.. Joshua 1:9 ~ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 ~ For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ~
Curiously, guess what I became convicted about shortly after that vision? God gave me that vision to assure me and to remind me of His unfailing devotion and love because He knew He was going to deal with me over tithing. Oh, on good work weeks I would put a little money in The Box, carefully holding on to any extra in case the next week wasn’t so good. Now God is telling me to give Him His portion and trust Him. Tithing doesn’t mean you’re special, it means you’re obedient. It pushes me personally a little farther when it comes to trusting God. He was teaching me a lesson about depending on Him, not my job. A church needs money to operate, that’s just the way it is. God doesn’t need our money to accomplish His will, but giving allows for the church to function, therefore being able to reach out to others. Money is necessary and I trust wholeheartedly the leaders at Canvas to do God’s will with the money taken in. It’s just another step I’ve taken with God on my journey. What I give doesn’t make a huge difference, but if we all gave according to God’s requirement what kind of difference would it make?
I’ve been on my own for over a decade. At one time giving was nothing to me because there was plenty to give when I was married. In the end I traded money for happiness and I’ve never regretted it. Giving when you live week to week is so much sweeter because in a sense you’re trading money for trust. My job isn’t my source, God is. He blesses me with health, a house, food, and paid bills. I still struggle with worry sometimes, but somehow even with unexpected expenses that ambush me occasionally, I always have enough. I’m glad God dealt with me on tithing because it has pulled me closer to Him. Psalm 27:14 ~ Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord. ~ Whatever you might be struggling with just think of that vision and imagine Jesus roaring through that darkness in your defense! He can help you break every chain.