By Kelly Andrews
In preparation for this trip, our group watched a video about the Rwandan genocide and how it continues to affect the people of Rwanda today. My mind was blown. I can’t even begin to empathize with these people because I can’t even begin to comprehend what they went through. Even though the genocide was twenty years ago, the people of Rwanda are still wrestling with healing and fear. It is and has been my prayer that the Lord would prepare our team member’s hearts in order to serve the people of Rwanda.
Fear is something that still exists in the hearts of Rwandans today even though the country is stable and safe. I began to pray that the people we meet in Rwanda would simply experience the peace of Jesus—that every fear, every doubt, and every worry would be covered by the blood of Jesus and removed from their lives. As I began to pray this, I felt the Lord confronting me about my own fears. How can I effectively encourage these people to be fearless if I myself am harboring anxiety and fears?
I asked the Lord to search my heart, and I began to write down the top three fears that I have in my life; this list is exactly what fears I have been wrestling with over the past ten years or so.
The first fear I reflected on is experiencing the loss of my loved ones. For the longest time, I have feared the loss of my parents, brother, and now husband. I know that each one of them has a relationship with the Lord and is going to heaven to experience eternal life, but it doesn’t discount the fact that I am afraid to lose their comfort, companionship, and love on earth.
The second fear that I’ve been recognizing in my life is the fear of being robbed or having my house broken into. Those close to me can testify that I am a nut-job when it comes to being alone. The lights are on, doors are locked, yet I manage to psych myself into fear based on lies fed to me by the enemy. It scares me to think of being invaded by an intruder—someone who doesn’t belong.
The last fear that I have wrestled with is a fear of rejection and not being accepted. This is one fear that I hate to admit because it has ruled so much of the decisions in my life. Not being accepted by others and not fitting in has been such a silly fear of mine, yet I’ve allowed it to hold power in my life.
Feeling so strongly to pray and reflect through this list—I almost felt like I was punched in the gut as I looked at each one of the fears I listed. Wow. The Rwandan people have actually lived the reality of these fears of mine while I have never actually experienced them; and here I’m the one who has allowed these fears to create a stronghold in my life.
It wasn’t long before I felt the conviction of arrogance. Here I thought our team was going to walk into this country and begin restoring fear with hope. Little did I know that I needed the Lord to restore my own fears before I even had a chance of encouraging the Rwandan people in this area.
Isaiah 41:10 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Meditating on this scripture has given me such perspective, and it fully encompasses everything that God is for us. He is our comforter, our strength, our helper, and our righteous God. Whether in the states or here in Rwanda, this scripture proves that our God desires for us to live in His peace and not to live in the fears of this world.