Freed from Oppression. Fear Factor, Part 7


A reminder of the German occupation

"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." (Prov 29:25 NIV)

One thing I have learned in life is that if we cultivate fear of any kind, it will eventually dominate us. It will become a snare to the soul and it will rob us of any possible peace. Fear can be conquered, but you have to really fight it!

This reminds me of the history of my birth country, Belgium … Although Belgium wasn't founded until 1830, as far back as 54 B.C., Julius Caesar referred to the "Belgae" as ""the bravest of all Gauls". And brave the Belgians are, and have been throughout history. But their bravery hasn't stopped other nations from invading them!

First there were the Italians, under the leadership of Julius Ceasar, as mentioned above.

Next, in the 13th century, the French set up rule in the Flanders, which is the western part of Belgium. Local merchants and craftsmen were unhappy with the takeover, and bitter conflict arose. One of the most intriguing of their quarrels was the Battle of Courtrai. It is also called the Battle of Spurs, because the Flemish went out collecting the spurs of dead French knights as trophies.

But this didn't result in ridding Belgium of the French. In fact, by the mid 15th century, France, under the dukes of Burgundy, ruled most of Belgium.

In 1549, through a series of marriages and unforeseen events, the Belgians came under the rule of Spain, which eventually entered into war with the Netherlands and France. Being caught in the middle, the consequences of the war were huge: Belgium lost Dunkerque and Lille to France. Though this region is still considered part of the Flemish dunes, it remains under French rule to this day.

At this time, the rest of Belgium came under the rule of Austria.

After being occupied twice by the French revolutionaries, the country was ceded to France In 1797. This lasted until the defeat of the French in Waterloo, which, by the way, is in Belgium, and the country then came under the rule of the Dutch.

But the Belgians were no longer content to sit around and let someone else rule their land. Inspired by the French Revolution, in July of 1830, Belgians took arms to drive out the Dutch. They succeeded in August of that same year, and on October 4, 1830, Belgium was finally declared independent. And other than the brief German occupation in the 1940s, this is how it has remained throughout modern history.

And you thought you may have had a bad day! The above history is like a ping pong match between the poor Belgians and the obscure unknown. Reading it nearly gives you a kink in the neck! I can imagine darkness whispering to them: "You are defeated! You are just miserable! You are doomed to your destiny! You deserve it and you can't do anything about it!" But they didn't succumb to this darkness. Instead, they rose up and conquered the darkness.

The same is true when we listen to the whispers of fear in our hearts. That fear will eventually dominate us, and if we don't do something about it, it will dominate us for the duration of our lives. But remember: These evil thoughts CAN be overcome.

We need to remember Prov 29:25a: "Fear of man will prove to be a snare…." NIV.

Fears are a snare that leads to bondage!

We also need to remember Prov 29:25b: "… but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." NIV Fear can only be overcome by "trusting in the Lord!"

It makes sense. If we listen to our illegitimate fears, we let them take root in our lives, and the more we listen to them, the more ingrained in our existence they become. What happens is that we begin to trust them instead of God, and this leads to sleepless nights and utter despair.

If we choose to listen to our loving Heavenly Father instead, and let Him come into our lives, our trust will be in Him, not in our fears. This will lead to utter inner peace and divine tranquility, even amidst the worst circumstances.

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." (Jer 17:7-8 NIV)

Will we let ourselves be dominated by undesirables?

The choice is ours!

Rob Chaffart

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