Fight or Flight
By Noelle Okolowicz
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 ESV
I remember a Facebook post where a family member openly bashed me for my Christian beliefs, followed by a vicious character attack that left me steaming.
Everything inside of me wanted to defend myself; to ‘set the record straight.’ I was angry, but more than that, I was afraid. I felt like I’d just taken a hard uppercut square between the eyes.
That’s how God decided to introduce this beautiful promise. He grabs our attention with a command that seems out of reach. Yet, He followed it up with a simple yet profound, God-sized statement that somehow, someway, makes ‘fear not’ seem entirely possible, ‘for I am with you.’
In that moment of panic, as my hands trembled over the keyboard to craft a knock-out comeback, God intervened.
He gently whispered to me the synopsis of the second half of that promise, ‘I am your Vindicator.’
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what that meant. I had to look it up. In essence, a vindicator ‘clears someone from accusation.’
The promise is not only that God is with us, as amazing as that is, but that God protects us. He’s not watching the fight from the sidelines cheering us on.
If we let Him, He intervenes between the circumstances and our tender hearts.
He stands up for us. He strengthens us. He helps us. He holds us – actually, He holds us up, according to the Scripture. God is on our side!
Against all odds that day, I didn’t reply to that terrible Facebook post. It was hard, but I’m happy to report that God has been restoring that relationship. In addition, a greater level of trust has grown in my heart.
Fear is a human emotion we all struggle with. It prompts us to what experts call a “fight or flight” reaction. This means when we feel threatened, we have an urge to either fight back or to run the other way.
The promise in this verse gives us permission to let God show up and show off – on our behalf. We can rest assured that He’s right there in the very moment of our fear, imparting His supernatural power that rescues us from our gut reactions.
We don’t have to run, NOR do we have to fight. God is our Vindicator, we can rest safely in the promise that He is WITH us and He is FOR us.
How about you? Has there been a time when you’ve felt wrongly accused or attacked? How did you respond (with fight or flight)? How did it work out?
What other fears have you been fighting with or running from? Take a minute to jot down a short list, as an act of identification for you and as a written submission to God. Financial strain? Your health? A loved one battling disease? A wayward child? Relationship issues? Marital dilemmas? Work problems?
In light of your observations, refresh the following promise in your heart with a different translation:
Don’t panic (say your name here). I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41:10 MSG
Make a choice today, to go against the fight or flight urge that begs you to engage your fears. Instead, invite God into the mix to stand for you, receiving His Holy Strength. That’s a promise you can count on!
Lord, thank You for opportunities that grow our faith. Only through You can we fear not. Make Your presence so real in our hearts that we have no choice but to believe Your promises. Empower us to live in a state of active rest, doing what You have called us to do, yet submitting to the peace of Your protection and strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
© 2018 by Noelle Okolowicz. All rights reserved.
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