1 Samuel 1:6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.
Fear can be likened to dominoes lined up one in front of the other. Once you allow fear to enter, you have knocked over the first domino in the row and down will come all the others, one by one. Fear not only creates havoc but reaches a point where it snowballs, then consumes us. We must confront the fears in our life, understand them and what God’s word has to say about the subject. Only then are we better able to deal with it.
FDR once said, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself-” But that was just part of the quote. I love the rest of that sentence: “- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Fear can incapacitate us and prevent us from moving forward.
He was right – I have experienced fear that was nameless; I didn’t know why I was afraid but I just was. I wasn’t afraid of a particular person – but an unnamed problem. As well, there is no reasoning with fear and it will fill us with terror causing us not to take action. I have been in these shoes and, no pun intended, it is a fearful place to be – a dark place! So what does the Bible have to say about fear? Does God teach us how to deal with it? I shout a resounding “YES”!
First, where does fear come from? The Scriptures tell us:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)
When we focus on our fears and become consumed by them, we are not being sober and vigilant. Peter tells us that the devil does not play fair. Have you ever watched a nature show about lions? They do not go after the fastest and strongest gazelle. In fact, they will go after a young one or an injured one. This is how the devil works, my friend. He will kick you while you’re down. He will eat you alive. So how does a Christian overcome fear? We know that God does not desire His children to live in fear.
1 John 4:15-18 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
As we learn about our position with God and His love for us, we can realize the depth of His love. After all, He gave us His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to take the penalty for a punishment that we so deserve. That is love! Once we are secure in God’s love through His Son, we must read, read, read! Reading the Scriptures opens our eyes to God’s love, His power, and how He guides His people. Do you recall all those men of Israel who were so afraid of Goliath that they all ran from him? David’s response was:
1 Sam 17:26 And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
In the same chapter, we read that when David finally confronted Goliath:
David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 1 Sam 17:48 (KJV)
This does not sound like someone who was fearful. If anyone should have been afraid, it should have been David. Yet, he ran towards Goliath! David knew his God and he knew that he was not alone to fight the battle.
Neither are we alone to fight our battles! The same God who helped David with Goliath will help us with our giants – our fears! God’s word is filled with verses of encouragement in this area. This is how we grow in the areas of being sober and vigilant – we read God’s word and glean from its pages! Is there anyone in the Scriptures we can learn from better than David?
Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalms 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 118:6 The LORD [is] on my side; I will not fear: what can man do to me?
God desires that we rest in Him. (Matthew 11:28-30) We do not have to be afraid of upcoming circumstances because we have a Heavenly Father who is on top of the entire situation in our lives! When we become fearful, we become consumed with doubts and do not think clearly. (2 Timothy 1:7)
God wants us to rest in His care. What are these problems in life that the God of David cannot solve? (1 Samuel 17:26) This same God who helped David defeat his giant will help us defeat our giants: whether they are giants with flesh or abstract giants! Not all our fears are based on issues with people. Sometimes circumstances can stir up fears. These are giants nonetheless! The bottom line is fear. The Lord will not leave us or abandon us. He loves us! (Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 Chronicles 28:20) It’s always easier to go through difficult times when you have someone who will go through those times with you. We always have Someone with us. God promises us that He will never leave us or abandon us! (Hebrews 13:5) Praise the Lord!
Once we fully grasp God’s love for us, the fears are replaced with a trust that helps us to understand that nothing happens without God’s approval. Our fears will turn into child like trust and then will we be able to experience God’s power in our lives.
Psalm 56:3-4 In the time when I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me.
Friend, are you afraid? Get in the Scriptures! Do you find yourself fretting over circumstances in life? Get in the word of God. In its pages are countless verses dealing with fear and courage. Each time I begin to fear, this is where I turn. I use different colored highlighters in my Bible. The color pink is the color I’ve designed for comfort verses. When I am afraid, I can easily open my Bible and spot the pink verses. As I turn each page in search of the pink highlighted verses and read them, I remember the circumstances which led me to highlight the verse in the first place. Each one is a testimony to God’s faithfulness!
If I don’t have the opportunity to open my Bible, I pray and ask the Lord to take my fears from me. I made Proverbs 3:5-6 my life’s verses about 20 years ago and have committed them to memory. Each time I cannot open my Bible when I am afraid, I quote these verses back to myself. They remind me of those times prior where I feared my giants and how the Lord defeated each and every one! I have lived Psalm 56:3-4 and the result has been the beautiful rest Jesus Christ told us He would give in Matthew 11:28.
Read, read, read your Bible! That’s the solution to fear! Your fears will be replaced with trust.