There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

“What are you scared of?” I heard a father say to his little girl, who was hanging from the monkey bars at a park. “I’ll catch you!” The father stood beneath her, coaxing her to let go and fall into his arms. It was a beautiful picture of a father’s tender love and invitation to trust.

In that brief exchange, I saw a reflection of our heavenly Father. Like that daughter, I’ve skipped along, hand in hand with my heavenly Father, telling him my plans. Then I released his hand and began to climb. He cheered me on, spotting me from time to time in case I fell. He took joy in my accomplishments. He loved watching me learn and grow.

But my plans weren’t always his, and even though he’s my Father, I didn’t always include him. Many times I climbed so fast that I arrived at a place too high for me and grew dizzy. On the edge of a dangerous precipice, I became fearful.

Even though I may have rushed ahead without him, or forgotten him entirely, God has never left me. He sees me hanging there, afraid to fall, and in his tender love he extends the invitation to trust. He says, “What are you scared of? I’ll catch you.” His arms are already open. All I need to do is let go and drop into them.

Have you trusted God with your life? Are you trusting him with whatever trial you may be facing at the moment? Or are you a little afraid? Like the child at the park,

we have a decision to make. Do we trust our daddy with every bit of our lives, or do we hang on in our own strength as long as we can?

What would it take to know perfect love and live without fear? For me, understanding came when I reached a place of complete surrender, when I let go of the life I was fearfully hanging onto and fell into God the Father’s open arms. Once I was engulfed in his love, the fears, cares, and concerns that had crippled and confused me faded away. Safely enfolded, I found faith, peace, confidence, freedom, boldness, joy, and yes, love. All that was required was for me to remain close to his side.

He’s inviting us to trust him. Let’s release our doubts and fears and hang on to Jesus!

I can know the fullness of peace and joy that comes with being caught up in the beautiful arms of God’s perfect love.