What are you afraid of?
I’ve been scared all my life.
When I was a child and growing up, I had a lot of fears. I was afraid of:
- the unknown;
- the dark;
- loud noises;
- big dogs;
- failing in school;
- getting in trouble at school;
- being called on at school to answer a question;
- public speaking;
- my parents;
- and more.
As an adult, my fears are much more intangible, things like me not mattering (not making a difference here on earth) nor leaving a righteous legacy. Of my children not loving me or having nothing to do with me. Of failing as a mom. Of something horrible happening to one of our children or grandchildren. Of never fulfilling my calling and purpose from God. Of never succeeding as a speaker and author. Of growing old and unloved. Of declining health. Of news headlines, such as the Coronavirus, violent shootings, terrorism, persecution for my faith, and natural disasters. Fears many people share.
God has delivered me of many of my childhood fears, but I still have to fight against new fears the enemy Satan tries to throw at me, such as the one above. I must keep my gaze on Jesus and choose to trust in Him!
I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety and fear lately because our youngest daughter Leah fell on ice and snow near Christmas, and it broke the fibula in her right ankle. The fracture required her having surgery, which was extremely scary to me.
I know that God is going to completely heal her, but that doesn’t mean I am not battling fears, such as her falling again and re-injuring herself. But I must choose to trust that God is going to protect her and quickly, completely heal her!
Fear is something Jesus addressed a lot with His disciples. One of the most well-known passages is when they were on a boat in a storm in Matthew 8:23-27, NASB.
The Bible describes it as a “great storm.” This was not just a little summer shower. The men were experienced fishermen, and had been in plenty of storms. But they were afraid in this storm.
“When Jesus got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?””
The men were scared out of their wits that they were going to die. And there Jesus was, asleep! They woke Him up, asking Him to rescue them. Jesus challenged them. He called them out for their fear, asking why they were afraid.
Why are you and I afraid, too? Jesus is always with us in the boat of life! He is at peace, and we should be, too, trusting in God!
In my email inbox today, I received the Faith Gateway ezine in which author Max Lucado writes, “Storms are not optional, but fear is.”
On my Facebook wall today, one of my friends didn’t agree completely with this quote. She said, “Fear is a natural human emotion. It moves us to take action. To seek safety. Fear can alert us to REAL danger. Ignoring it, burying it, or minimizing it won’t save us if we’re in a serious situation. Fear can prompt us to make quick decisions. Some people have physical strength during scary moments and they can rescue others from a fire, car accident, and dire conditions.”
This is true. And in fact, my friend Judy in Florida just experienced this during a storm. She and her husband Bob are staying in a mobile home right now and were going to a concrete building storm shelter during a tornado warning about 10:30 at night. As her husband was getting his sweat pants, Judy went outside to knock on a neighbor’s door.
The wind became powerful and she saw rotating clouds. Judy laid quickly on the ground and prayed for Jesus to help them. She was pelted with debris but God protected her. About 15 houses away, a tree was uprooted and mobile homes were damaged. It was later confirmed that a tornado was on the ground in their area. If Judy hadn’t paid attention to her feeling of fear when she saw the rotating clouds, she might have been seriously hurt or even died. Her fear did alert her to make a quick, and potentially life-saving decision: to lay down on the ground for protection.
Fear can be useful to caution us. We need to pay attention to our fears, because God gives us emotions for a reason. But God doesn’t want us to stay stuck there. He wants us to rise above the fear and intentionally choose to trust in and believe in Him, God Almighty, who is all-knowing and all-powerful. God is greater than any fear or danger that we may be experiencing. Fear is the opposite of faith and is our enemy to trusting in Jesus.
Yes, fear is a natural response to frightening, dangerous situations. God understands this and doesn’t condemn us for the fear. But we can’t stay a slave to our fears. We must master them and choose to believe in and trust in God. We must get our eyes off the dangerous storm, whatever it is, and keep our eyes on Jesus, who will never leave us. This is not an easy task. But with God nothing is impossible. Renewing our minds with the truth of God’s word is the key to conquering our fears. (Romans 12:2)
Here are some verses on fear and faith that you and I can meditate on to help us renew our minds and to conquer the enemy of fear.
“So do not fear, for I AM with you; do not be dismayed for I AM your God. I will strengthen and help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3)
“Peace is what I leave with you; it is My own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
“But now thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel; Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
Are you struggling with fears, anxiety, or stress? Be sure to check out my book, Metamorphosis: Transformed from Fear to Faith, available for sale at Amazon here.