I’ve written about facing my fear of guns. This spring I continued to combat that fear by taking a CCW (Concealed Carry Weapons) class.
Even after paying the deposit to secure my space, I still questioned whether or not I’d have the courage to show up at the class. As fear and anxiety continued to dog me, I began telling friends about the class. That helped to strengthen my resolve. I didn’t want someone to ask later, “So how did the class go?” and have to admit, “Well, I sort of chickened out and didn’t go!”
Day One of the class was devoted to studying the laws of concealed carry. That didn’t trigger much anxiety. But Day Two would be spent on the firing range, shooting real guns with the power to do real damage. And that shooting would be done under the scrutiny of experts, including two law enforcement officers. In the preceding hours, anxiety began hitting me in waves. That was the perfect time for this scripture to flash into my memory.
“…I believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27: 13)
With these words, God was giving me a weapon to counterattack my fear of the weapons class. The phrase “in the land of the living” felt particularly relevant. Taking the CCW class was an opportunity to engage in life, rather than submit to fear’s control. As we all know, being controlled by fear is not living!
I repeatedly quoted this scripture in my mind; reminding myself that I could choose to trust God’s goodness as I took the second night of the class. Anticipating His goodness prompted me to see His goodness that evening, even in little things.
- Enjoying conversation with fellow class members – evidence of God’s goodness.
- Learning (and improving) from the instruction I was given on the firing line – that was God’s goodness.
- Stopping myself from comparing my shooting to others – again, God’s goodness.
While aiming my weapon at the target, I continued quoting, “I believe to see the goodness of the Lord….” (And I definitely believe His goodness helped me to consistently hit the target!)
It was not until the class was over and I had my certificate in hand, that the Lord reminded me of the first part of Psalm 27:13. “I had fainted unless I believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” God wasn’t even going to let me think about the “fainting” part until I had successfully completed the class. He was letting me know that failure had never been a threat that night. Trusting in God’s goodness was my victory.
The lesson God was teaching was about more than guns.
Granted, taking the CCW class was a pretty small thing in light of the many challenges that come over the course of a lifetime. But God used that class to teach me some vital life principles.
- Believing in God’s goodness is a choice, a decision, that is my responsibility to make.
- Making that decision leads to anticipating His goodness, even in challenging times.
- Anticipating God’s goodness is not demanding that He prove His goodness. Rather it is an act of obedience that allows me to relax and to accept the evidence of His goodness that is already present.
Since taking my class, I’ve been meditating on Psalms 27: 13 regularly. Each day something will occur that prompts me to think, “Wow, I just experienced God’s goodness.”
I don’t know what I’ll face in any given moment, let alone in the future. But I am thankful that God is continuing to train me to trust in His goodness. Because when I see His goodness, I’m reminded of His presence. And when I’m reminded of His presence, I know I’m not alone. And knowing I’m not alone is a big step towards defeating fear!
As you go through your day, I’m challenging you to be intentional in looking for God’s goodness. Whether you are at home, school, work, at the store, waiting in the doctor’s office or reading a blog post; I think you may be surprised at the ways that you see God expressing His goodness to you. In your land of the living!
(Read Part 1, “And Sometimes God Uses a Gun”.)