Updated: Jun 5, 2020
God has intricately designed each one of us, giving us the gifts we need to conquer the challenges in our paths. All we need to do is trust in our God and his divine mercy.
“I am not afraid; I was born to do this.”
These words were spoken by Joan of Arc – a mystic visionary, military leader, martyr, saint, and heroine of France. Burned at the stake for witchcraft and heresy, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She was only 12 years old when she experienced a vision and heard the voices of Saint Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch. These visions led her to lead French troops to victory in the Hundred Years War, recapturing the cities of Orleans and Troyes. While Joan’s feats on the battlefield were brave beyond belief, we can also find courage in her fearlessness and abandonment to God’s will.
Everything Happens For a Reason
Joan’s words are a beautiful reminder that we truly have nothing to fear. God may push us into uncomfortable positions, but he never leaves us. You may hear the phrase, “everything happens for a reason,” quite often when life takes an unexpected twist. Cliché as it is, it holds truth – God has intricately designed every step of your life. You are His creation and He knows what you are capable of. Not only that, He knows how every struggle, heartbreak, or tear shed will end. He has created your journey knowing that together, the two of you can handle the weight of the cross and carry it to Heaven.
Simply put: God has everything under control. If we can come to peace with that, what do we have to fear? Often our hearts fall into the grips of fear because we feel lost or confused. We go looking for help, guidance, or comfort in what we can find around us, when we should be looking inside of us. We cannot control what happens in our lives, but we are equipped to handle whatever is thrown our way. God has intricately designed each one of us, giving us the gifts we need to conquer the challenges in our paths. When we experience fear, we can turn to our God in prayer, asking Him to show us how to beat it. When we choose to focus on our God and acknowledge what he is capable of, our fears will disappear. In the book of Phillipians, Paul relays a similar message, saying,
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
Most of our fears are rooted in a lack of trust in God’s love. Among many things we worry about managing our finances, maintaining or fixing our health, or failing – whether it is an exam or a project in our career. Guess who likes to put these doubts in our head. The devil knows how to attack you, isolate you, and pit you against yourself. He is afraid of what you can do when you lay your trust in the Lord, so he will do anything to stop you from getting there. Nothing harms our spiritual or psychological growth as much as fear. Resisting new challenges or changes in our lives can lead to stunted spiritual and emotional maturity. Our fears hold us hostage from experiencing the freedom and joys given to us as children of God. They say comparison is the thief of joy, but I would argue fear is as well. We cannot live in a state of peace or happiness when fear grips our hearts or our minds.
We read in 1 John that,
“Perfect loves drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
Perfect love: this is the love our God has for us. Unconditional on our doubts, fears, or falls – he loves us whole-heartedly. It is in this love that we must find trust to drive out fears. Trusting in his plan and his vision, we must let ourselves abandon the fears that hold us back from fulfilling the life he has designed for us. How do you think the saints became saints? Just like Joan of Arc, they were transformed through God’s grace and unfailing love. With His help they broke through their struggles and became models of the Church. Although we see them often in the light of jubilance, many of them faced beheadings, burning at the stakes, banishment, and more. Yet, they stood firm in the faith.
We should strive to model ourselves after the saints. Many of them recognized that fear is useless. It has no value. They chose to abandon their will to that of our God’s, knowing that fear would no longer have any power over them. The way these individuals led their lives show us what it means to be Christ-like; to trust in God and his plan. Joan of Arc is a great example – it was not her personally that was magnificent, rather, the cause that stirred her heart. She abandoned herself to God’s will – trusting in His plan for her. This trust led to her fearlessness.
We live in a time of heightened fear. With sickness, frustration, and anger in our communities, it can be hard to abandon what lies on our hearts into the hands of God. We fear inadequacy, stagnancy, and loss. However, it is in times like this that we now more than ever must learn to trust our God. We must turn to him confidently, knowing that he has a plan and that he has created us for this moment.