Fear or Faith?

Two months after placing my childlike faith in Jesus my perfect life was suddenly upended. Stolen innocence would be the enemy’s divisive tactic. My purity traded for self-conscious, loathing shame. The world, as it was dreamed, disappeared.

Can one un-see or un-experience a trauma?  

And once it is gone, how does one re-obtain faith like a child?  

Darkness Rising

Unpredictably, my blameless world transformed. I became afraid. I felt my innocent heart polluted. I felt helpless and alone. I tucked these struggles deep down inside where I hoped it would not be bothered. I told no one of my broken place. It was my secret. I was face to face with my deepest fears and insecurities. Darkness had risen from inside my broken parts and was suffocating faith.  

I believed lies. I built a wall around myself. I thought the wall was there to protect me, but the lies seeped through the cracks. Desperately broken I hid in fear. If I had only shared my secrets, I could have started the healing process sooner.  

In my pain, I found the wrong place to hide. I found myself locked in a secret place of despair and isolation. Inside, I slowly suffocated. I was at the beginning of a long spiral downward. I felt different than the others. I felt separated from God. I was alone and my faith faded.    

How can you find your way back to innocence?

We all play hiding games and I learned early to hide very well in the shadows and shallows.

Everyone hides his or her faith in something or someone. The pertinent question, I have found important to discover is “where am I hiding?”

Healthy hiding required an honest assessment, “Am I hiding out of fear or faith?”  

We all know what it is like to be sinned against.  I am not alone in the feeling of the deep pain of rejection, abuse and loneliness.  

I know that my five-year-old self hid in powerless childlike fear. Anxiety rendering me immobilized to be all I was created to be. I found myself hiding from my true self, hiding from others and ultimately hiding from God.

Born Hiders

I come by this twisted instinct through a long generational history.  My forbearers Adam and Eve, modeled how to hide in shame after they sampled forbidden fruit.  And childlike fear was the result. As natural hiders, they tried to find a safe place in their insecurity. They feared the judgment of the Creator.

It is important to note that Adam and Eve were hiders before tasting the forbidden.  They had found refuge in God and in His garden. They were hidden safely within His borders. From the beginning, they were hiders. Hiding in faith with confidence and security that gave them a boldness to be all that they were created to be.

One Decision

Yet, one decision changed my predecessor’s perspective. One choice and their eyes opened to a need for a new hiding place. They felt disillusioned, naked and afraid. One moment they were free and unashamed. The next instant, they stood humiliated and uncovered.  The two began looking for a new place to hide.

Instinct drove Adam and Eve to find a new place to hide their dishonor. We all subconsciously ask, “where to conceal our shame? The “where” is important. We all hide, but your chosen secret place governs the quality of life.

So they covered their nakedness by making their own fig leaf garments. Tasting the forbidden fruit changed the way they saw the world and the way they saw God. Their faith was masterfully stolen and replaced by fear. Their eyes were opened to a new “truth.”  The new awareness exposed them to the new reality of being naked and afraid.

“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves girdles.” Genesis 3:7

Is it possible that the forbidden fruit may have been a type of fig? The fig tree has garnered much discussion through the ages; in fact, it was a fig tree that Jesus cursed.  

Theologians have pondered this question, “Why would a fig tree be cursed?”  

Jesus was hungry, and in the distance, He saw a fig tree by the side of the road. He got close to it, He saw that it had no figs on it. He cursed it saying, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered and died at once.

This startled His followers.

At first glance, this story disturbs me. An apparent fear arises in me when I think of Jesus delivering a crushing curse. In my shame, I worry the curse could be directed towards me. My inside voice reminds me of my failures. My instinct is to take cover and hide far from the devastating wrath of God. If an innocent little fig tree could rattle the rage of Jesus, what hope do I have with all of the wrongs I have done?  What did this little fig tree do to reap such a response from Jesus?

Fear of Condemnation

Paralyzed by the notion of a mean spirited Jesus condemning me in my fruitless shame crippled me for many years. Driven to live my childhood concealing my pain from being exposed, I hid in the wrong places.  Childlike fear questioned, “Would God curse me?

Would I be excluded from my designed purpose?

Would paradise escape me?”

It is in this unforeseen place with an un-forgiven tree, I am led back to an unexpected faith.  As a natural hider, I can hear the soft breeze blowing blessing spoken by a familiar voice I once knew long ago, “Come home. You are safe with me.”

I hear the wind whispering, “I did not come to curse you but to rescue you. You can take cover in me.”

I was discovering once again, life beyond a dead tree.  

Jesus Cursed My Old Hiding Place

There is no life there. He invited me into fearless faith.  No longer should I try to hide in the temporary. Never again should I fix my faith in the shriveled fig leaf. Because of Jesus, I can boldly take cover in God once again. Jesus is drawing me out of hiding in imaginary security, urging me to return home to my eternally intended hiding place.  

Which Hiding Place Will I Choose?

When I feel uncovered and long for safety, I need to honestly assess, am I hiding in childlike fear or taking cover in childlike faith? One hiding place has been cursed the other blessed.  I choose.

Dan Russell

Dan Russell is a founding member of the USA Wrestling for Peace program, an accomplished wrestler, coach, and motivational speaker.  Dan was a four-time NCAA Champion and four-time Academic All-American. He was named the “Unofficial Champion of the World,” at the Poddubny Championships in Perm, Russia. And he was an Olympic Coach at the 2004 Olympic Games. 


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