What makes you quake? Tremble in your boots? Cry out in fear?
Is it your finances? Your marriage? Unruly children? Fear of the future? Inability to control your world? Being alone with your thoughts?
Anxiety comes from many sources and on various levels, but nearly all of us experience it at one time or another. It can even be that little panic as you look for your keys or as you put your debit card into the machine. It can be that odd feeling of being watched in the shop or thinking a car is following you. Life is full of these moments.
As we consider fear today, I want us to see there are tools in our belt, weapons, if you will, to combat this enemy. And fear is an enemy. It has a purpose in keeping us safe as it warns us of danger, but it also oversteps its place as it seeks to control us.
Peter wrote about the qualities of meekness and quietness as a sign of a godly woman saying, “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Peter 3:4) Did you know that meekness does not mean to be weak and mousey but to be without anger? And quietness does not mean she doesn’t speak up, but it means she is not afraid, she is confident and secured. Fear and anger are the two most controlling emotions people face. So, let’s look today at fear.
God knows we fear. That is why He mentions it so often and gives us an array of assuring promises. Let me share just three with you. Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:13 “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee,” and Mark 5:36 “Be not afraid, only believe.”
The verse I taught my children when they would wake fearful in the night, was Psalm 56:3
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” My oldest daughter tells me to this day when she feels fear; she recites this verse in her head!
In each of these verses, and in every promise on fear, the source for release is trust and belief in the Lord.
I was reading David Jeremiah’s book, Slaying the Giants in Your Life, and he had a great comment on fear. Here’s what he wrote –
“The opposite of fear, you see, is not courage. It’s not trust. (1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.”) The opposite of fear is love. This verse captures that beautiful and powerful truth. As we’ve already seen near the beginning of the chapter, 2 Tim 1:7 “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” There it is again – fear versus love. I think parents understand this principle, for they know that little children often wake up in the dark of night. And they’re afraid of the darkness. I experienced it again with our oldest grandchild when he was an infant. When he was staying our home, he’d wake up in that unfamiliar bedroom in the middle of the night, and he’d begin to cry. It wasn’t just any kind of crying, but an “I’m afraid” kind of crying. You parents know what I mean? So, what did we do? I doubt any of us would rush into the room and say, “Come on – be courageous!” No, you and I are much more tender than that. We lifted the little boy in our arms, nestled him tightly to us, and spoke softly with assurance. We told him we loved him and that everything was all right. We helped him realize he was in a safe place and that we were very near as he slept, even if it was dark. And that we would always protect him. We poured in all the love we could until the fear was cast out, and he slept in peace. That’s what God does for us when we call on Him.” (p 15)
Isn’t that a beautiful picture of God’s love for his fearful child?
When I walked down the aisle to marry my husband, fear gripped my heart. Was I making the right decision? Would things work out well? I made it to the front and looked into his loving eyes. Fear left, and I made my vows.
When I faced that awful news of cancer, there was fear. But there was also peace in my heart because I knew my Father loved me. I was not alone. He was walking that camel train with me.
So, today, whatever fear tries to clutch your heart and gives you a rush of adrenaline, step back into God’s love for you, calm your heart, and refuse fear’s grip.
Call out to your loving Father—He’s there!
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:19)