We were a young married couple with two preschool-age children. Our house needed painting, but money was tight. So we were afraid we couldn't afford to pay a professional. But neither of us felt we had the time or the expertise to paint our turn-of-the-century two-story house in the Texas heat. So when a man from the neighborhood offered to do odd jobs for $5 an hour, we hired him. Well, the first morning up the ladder, this fellow opened up one of the bedroom windows on the top floor, and out fell the air-conditioner onto the concrete below.
We were grateful no one was hurt, but we spent $500 to replace the unit. We didn't save any money on this project, but it did teach me not to make decisions based on fear. Our mistake was not in hiring the worker; it was in distrusting God to meet our needs.
I wish that all of my decisions from that point on have been made fearlessly. I'm getting better, though, because I've been gaining a greater sense of God's unfailing love. I had grown up being taught that God is Love, and I'd had wonderful proofs of this fact as a child a spiritual healing of a broken arm when I fell off a horse, relationship problems solved through prayer, and abundant supply through trusting God's provision of right ideas, which enabled me to pursue such opportunities as traveling and going to college.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Paul's declaration: "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38, 39).
But somehow the everyday wear and tear of trying to find my path as an adult had clouded that understanding with the thought that there were limits to God's love in the here and now, or that even if the love of God was infinite, I had to earn the right to that love through my own righteousness. If I made a mistake through human will or fear or misjudgment, I had to work my way back to some imaginary line where God's love would kick in again. But I was on my own to suffer and figure it out until I got back to that place. What a fear-producing view of life that was, and it fostered fear-based decisions.
Then, one day, in the midst of praying and trying to figure my way back to the love of God from some wrong turn I'd made, an "amazing grace" thought dawned. I pictured a plant on the windowsill, with the sunlight flooding in and drawing each tender budding leaf to the light. Then I imagined someone turning it 180 degrees. Even as one side of the plant was being turned away, the light was shining on it and operating, by a law, to draw it back toward the light. Even if the plant were turned a million times, no part of it could ever disqualify itself from the law that kept drawing it back to the light.
I glimpsed God's love as being like that an all-pervasive ever-presence of Love that we couldn't turn from, no matter what. Love holds us perpetually in line with its blessings, and we can do nothing that can disqualify us. I felt this Love as so all-encompassing that even if a decision were made based on fear that resulted in a mistake, the all-pervasive love of God would rush in to correct and adjust and teach me.
The inspiration was so great that the fear about what had concerned me vanished. I can't even remember what the problem was. But I do remember that the next day, a young friend asked me to pray for her. She'd been playing soccer and had made a bad judgment call in going for the ball, badly injuring her leg. She condemned herself and felt she deserved to suffer at least a little while before she could be healed. I told her about the light and the plant. I poured out what I'd been feeling about God's unfailing Love, and she quieted immediately. We both felt Love's presence. She slept peacefully that night and woke with no sign of injury.
I'm practicing accepting this love of God with every decision. If I catch myself tensing up with fear, I turn back to God's allness and set aside whatever circumstances are saying that God can't and won't be able to bless me this time. Love doesn't know any episode-by-episode judgment of our worthiness. Love is the divine Principle of eternal grace. As a friend of mine says, "Love doesn't measure the need it meets the need." With such assurance, we can make decisions fearlessly.