What is My Greatest Fear?
by Mary Alice McGinnis
If you were to take inventory of your mind, what recurring worries would you find lingering there? What concerns occupy your thoughts during the day? What things keep you awake at night?
I was prompted to do a journaling exercise recently to help identify my biggest fear. Allowing my random thoughts and concern to find their way from my head, to my heart, through my fingers, to my pen, and down in black and white was revealing.
Why not try it with me?
Write down a short answer to these questions:
What is the worst thing that could happen?
So what happens if that comes true?
So what happens because of that?
So what happens because of that?
When you come to the end of “so what happens,” there lies your greatest fear.
Can you name it? How is that fear holding your prisoner?
In today’s reading I was struck by Paul’s first sentence in verse 10.
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection.”
What does knowing Christ mean? Is that just an intellectual “knowing” or something else?
What is the power of His resurrection? How would knowing Jesus and His ability to conquer my WORST FEAR, even death, change my day-to-day living?
If Paul would have ended his sentence right there, I would happily say AMEN! I want that too!
But then Paul continues: “and participation in His sufferings . . .”
But I don’t want to suffer! Suffering is painful. I fear it because the losses feel like they will crush me. It feels overwhelming. I fear I will not be able to hold up under its weight. Why would I want to participate in that?
Maybe because it will lead me to depend on someone other than myself?
Jesus embraces suffering. Why? Because He knew the outcome! His suffering and loss, even His death, would not be the end.
That is why Paul encourages us to realize when we suffer, we are: "becoming like Him in His death." Suffering, evil, pain, loss, death would not get the last word. They did not for Jesus, the Son of God, who came and suffered for us. And because of Him, they will not defeat us either. God has given the promise of “resurrection” to all His children, in whatever losses and suffering we have to face.
Think of that fear you identified earlier. How could God use even THAT worst fear to put His resurrection power on display in your life? Ask yourself, "If God is good, and He is ALL powerful, can I trust Him even if the worst happens? Would God be enough for my even my greatest fear?"
I think that is what Paul is alluding to when he says, “and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” We will have trials. We will face grief and pain. We will perhaps even suffer beyond what we think we can endure. But amid that suffering, God calls us to recognize Him, the One who can raise the dead, and trust Him to use His resurrection power in ways we cannot even imagine.
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”
Thank You Lord Jesus for how You willingly suffered for me. You face betrayal. You felt excruciating physical and emotional pain. You suffered the ultimate pain of being abandon to DEATH, though You were innocent. You were forsaken by God the Father because He chose to lay the penalty of all my wrong doings on You. I could never hope to live up to deserving such a sacrifice. Lord, please redirect my focus. Let me see that through my suffering, I can ONLY depend upon You. Let Your unstoppable resurrection power be on display through me.