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Fear in Residence: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 by Paula Kortkamp Combs

Fear is a lousy companion. I know. He lived with me for almost three years. While expecting our son Jonathan, I was diagnosed with cancer. The physical scars from the resulting surgery were nothing compared to the emotional scars. Fear had forced his way into my soul and taken up residence as an unwelcome guest.

After that, the slightest ache or pain sent me running to the doctor, with Fear taunting me all the way. As soon as the doctor said he found no cancer, Fear slunk away to wait for another day.

What if …..?

One of his favorite tricks was a campaign of whispers, "What if ___?" My overactive imagination filled in the blanks. Every time I played this game with him, his old crony, Depression, bullied his way in. Then hours or days passed in misery. I seemed unable to get rid of my dreadful visitors.

In spite of this ongoing battle with Fear, I longed for another baby. I talked to the Lord about it regularly, always adding, "But Lord, if I’m not going to live, I don’t want to bring another child into the world. May Your will be done."

What have you done?

We were thrilled when we learned God was blessing us with a second child. Four months into the pregnancy, I went to Houston for my regular checkup at a cancer hospital. Seeing my maternity clothes, the doctor blurted, "You’re pregnant? You, with a history of cancer?" Then the upset doctor discovered a small lump under my arm. "Go on back to El Paso,” he said brusquely. “After you deliver in five months, we’ll do a biopsy."

I returned home an emotional wreck, with Fear cackling in the shadows. How would I make it through the next five months?

What is going on?

Out of the blue a high school friend I had not seen in years called me from a distant city. "Paula, what in the world is going on?" she asked. "The Lord woke me up last night to pray for you, and I can’t get you off my mind." Amazed, I poured out my story. She prayed with me over the phone and asked God to heal me.

The next morning, I sat down on the couch to read my beloved Amplified New Testament. Desperate for comfort, I turned to Philippians where I came to some favorite verses. In these particular circumstances, they took on a deeper meaning.

Prayers and requests with thanksgiving

"Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace will be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace which transcends all understanding, shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6,7 Amplified)

No welcome for Fear

As I read those words, the peace of God mounted guard over my imagination, blocking the taunts of my old enemy. Fear was still yelling "What if?" but now I was safe from his torment, and he left.

Four months later our son David was born, and the lump mysteriously disappeared. God had answered our prayers.

Since that experience in 1974, Fear has returned many times to knock on the door of my soul. I have learned that if I don’t open the door, he can’t get in.

Today’s Prayer

Dear Lord, You know my struggle with Fear. Thank You that I can depend on Your faithfulness. I ask for Your powerful peace to protect me and rule over my life. I turn my worries and problems over to You right now. Amen.

© Paula Kortkamp Combs 1998         

You can find other stories by Paula Kortkamp Combs in My Roots Go Back to Loving and other stories from Year of the Family in the Bookstore

www.beckypowers.com

 

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