There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love.
1st John 4:18
At first, I was very worried about those cats. They are indoor cats and have very seldom been outside. They mainly stay away from the doors at the house because we keep shoo-ing them away. But what if one got out at a campground, ran away, and we never saw her again? I would never forgive myself.
After some thought, I decided to use an old but useful apparatus called Mr. Behavior Modification. It comes in a handy spray bottle filled with water.
So off we went on our first trip with the cats.
While we were getting organized after reaching the campsite, I placed Mr. Behavior Modification on the outside step. Meanwhile, Gracie, Trudie and Satin were fascinated by this new location and sat at the screen door while sniffing the air and watching anything that moved.
When I approached the door from the outside, I would say “Get back!” and spray a little water in their faces. They absolutely loathed it and would run to the other end of the camper (which was only 24 feet away!). It took about twice for each cat to learn to move away from that door when I said the magic words, “Get back!”
Basically, the cats were doing something I didn’t want them to do, so I used fear as a motivation for behavioral change. Normally they’re not afraid of me, but they learned to be when I punished them. They developed the fear of a face-full of water if they didn’t get away from that door. Fear expects punishment.
It’s the same way with the world. We all live in fear of all kinds of punishments. When we’ve said something in anger, we fear a broken relationship. When we can’t pay the mortgage, we fear homelessness. When we hear of layoffs, we fear losing our job.
How can love drive all of that away? How can love help pay the mortgage or keep someone employed?
Because God is love. So if you substituted God for love in that last paragraph, it would look like this: How can God drive all of that away? How can God help pay the mortgage or keep someone employed?
And now that we’ve seen it put that way, it’s a little clearer on how this love thing works. God takes care of everything in one way or another. Loving God through times of trouble makes the bond between us stronger.
God’s love is perfect, but he doesn’t expect that from us. He does expect us to do the best we can while leaning on His Son. Keeping our eyes upon Jesus gets us through it.