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Saturday, September 3, 2016

"Perfect Love Casts Out Fear" by Alison Sales

The thing I was most nervous about going to Malawi, Africa, this summer was anxiety attacks. I strongly believed that God was going to use this trip to completely heal me. I had been more than six months since my last attack and all throughout support raising I had felt confident peace that my mental illness was over. So you can imagine my frustration then when within the first three days of our time in Africa I had two terrible anxiety attacks. I was in severe pain, I couldn’t think clearly, I cried and cried and cried. Most of all, I couldn’t get a good breath of air. My lungs and throat were closed tight.

Of course I couldn’t understand why God would bring me to Africa to be sick. I wanted to have energy to love the people. I wanted to be smiling not crying and gasping for air. During the second attack I was sitting under the stars out in a remote village as the Jesus film played for hundreds of Malawians. They were riveted by Jesus’ miracles, teaching, and love. However, I couldn’t concentrate on the film, I was mad at God, he was supposed to heal me. I knew he could so what was he waiting for?

Right before the film shows Jesus being crucified my team members paused the movie. Jonathan got up to share the Gospel. My eyes were swollen closed with hot angry tears and I was too focused on trying to breathe to hear. Yet as soon as Jonathan began to share the gospel and speak about God the father’s perfect love all the symptoms of my attack vanished. I could breathe.
The hundreds of Malawians’ had to wait for the translator to catch up with Jonathan’s words. They probably couldn’t even hear him very well, because the translator had the microphone, but I could hear every single word. It was as if God was using Jonathan’s words specifically for me—he could have easily chosen to use someone who could speak Chichewa, he could’ve used a different messenger, but he didn’t. I think everyone there would have said they could feel the power of the Holy Spirit and hundreds of hand raised high signaling their desire to accept Jesus for the first time. But I feel like I am the one who received a free gift.

I am so thankful that I got to hear that message and witness that miracle. As soon as the message was over my anxiety attack came back full force, but I didn’t have any of the anger or frustration anymore. God had clearly show that speaking about his love, sharing the truth, and living in obedience (like Jonathan had) was the way to freedom. My God has all the power to heal my body whenever he chooses too. He hasn’t done that yet, but while I was in Africa he gave me an even better gift. He showed me that he is in control, that God the father’s love is big enough for me and thousands and millions of other people too, and he will use my obedience the way he wants to. He says that perfect love casts out fear and I got to experience that truth firsthand. Even when I am afraid and weaker than ever before I can trust him to use me. 

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Thank you for your words of encouragement. The Sales Family