I wake and wonder why. There’s a specific inclination on nights like this that insists there is a reason. I close my eyes and try to resist. Thirty minutes pass. Then an hour.
“Ok, Lord. I give.”
I begin to pray. I begin to puzzle. Truthfully, I can’t really remember which comes first. Both seem equally perplexing to me. Nevertheless, I try hard to remember that verse that’s been swirling in my head for the past week – that ever so elusive verse that I’ve wanted so much to learn how to live out for so long.
“…do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” ~1 Peter 3:6b
Do good. What is good?
Confident that Peter will enlighten me for the tenth time this week, I exit my bedroom, turn on the only light in the neighborhood, and resolve to sit with him until I get it.
“…wives, be subject to your own husbands…respectful…pure conduct…let your adorning be…with…a gentle and quiet spirit…do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” ~1 Peter 3:1-6
Do not fear. Fair enough. Do not fear anything that is frightening. Ok Lord, that’s cheating. I won’t fear if there’s nothing to fear. But when there’s big monsters under my bed, I’m hard-pressed not to fully freak out. More accurately, there are demons in my bed. How do I handle that?
But who fears when nothing is frightening? Right.
Real fears aren’t usually over grotesque monsters hovering in the shadows anyway. Real fears are usually more over small monsters living and walking among us, perfectly accepted and never acknowledged.
How do I cease from those? How do I put away valid, rational fears? How am I supposed to look fire in the face knowing I’m drenched in fuel and willingly determine to walk through it? Help me here, Peter.
Peter says, “…wives, be subject to your own husbands.” Peter means cease from pride. Submit to authority.
Peter says, “…display respectful and pure conduct…” Peter means disrespect is borne out of entitlement. Impurity is borne out of lust. Both are demons who will undermine fearless courage to live as a victorious Christian.
Peter says, “…let your adorning be with…a gentle and quiet spirit…” Really, Pete?! Since when has being quiet ever changed anything?
“Trust me.” Jesus whispers.
Peter says, “Do good…” Peter means put away rebellion and evil, arrogant attitudes which oppose God and people. Bring life to this culture of death in which you have been called to live.
Peter says, “…do not fear anything that is frightening.”
“Peter just told you, Einstein. Let me repeat since you are slow to learn.”
“Cease from pride. Display respectful and pure conduct. Exhibit gentleness and quietness because you trust me more than you trust your fail-safe arguments. Do what’s good and right as you wait for me to rescue you from the fierce fire of obedience I’m calling you to walk through.”
I begin to type as I wonder how many more times I’ll have to read this passage before I put it into practice. I realize that maybe the only things I should truly fear are those things which will rob me of the courage to walk without fear. I make a list to appease the schoolteacher idealist in me:
Pride. Entitlement. Impurity. Control. Rebellion. Cowardice.
I need not fear them, either, though. I shred the list, douse it with gasoline, and throw it before me into the purifying, scary as all hell, sweating before I get there with eyes full of tears, fire. I resolve to fear God alone.
Lord, raise my broken and bowed head that I might see you. Lift my longing eyes to your mercy. Wipe my tears and extinguish my fears. Give me intense courage and make me Sarah’s child. Lay me down and give me your rest. Amen.
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. ~1 Peter 3:5-7