What is your biggest fear? What is it that plagues you as you try to fall asleep at night, tossing and turning in response? Some of the fears you face could include being left alone, forsaken, or rejected, the death of a loved one, bad news from the test you just had in the doctor’s office, fear of change and the unknown. How do you face your fears? Some of us close our eyes tight, hoping that when we open them again, the fears will be gone. Some of us try to put on a happy face, ignore them, and hope that nobody will see through our mask, and ask “what’s wrong?” But, nevertheless they creep right into bed with us at the end of the day, and we face them yet again. How can one have victory over these fears?
1) We need to realize fears do NOT come from God.
Although this is a simple concept, it is one we easily forget. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God is not the cause of fears, but rather He wants us to bring our fears to Him! God wants us to give our fears, worries, “concerns” over to Him. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
I heard a preacher say once, “Fears distort the truth” and it has stuck with me. Fears are NOT truth. Fears are things that we are afraid WILL happen… sometime… in the future. They distort reality. Think of the story of the twelve spies. Ten of the spies saw things that made them afraid. Upon returning to camp, they reported what they saw, what they feared, and said in essence “we can’t.” But, Joshua and Caleb saw that this was the land God had promised and knew that God would overcome those “impossibilities.” They did not allow fear to distort the promise that God had made to them.
In Philippians 4:8, it’s clear that God wants us to “think on” things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue, of praise. He certainly doesn’t want us to dwell on things that will take our eyes off Him and His care for us.
2) We need to realize we have to get our focus back ON God.
If we are to go through difficult times/trials in our life, we can rest knowing He will strengthen us. Isaiah 41:10 says “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.” This verse is packed with promises and reassurances. God promises to be with us, to strengthen us, to help us, to uphold us. God doesn’t say in this verse “Fear thou not, because nothing bad will ever happen to you.” NO! But, He does say “Fear thou not; for I am with thee…” He will be with us in our trials.
And if that is not enough, three verses later, God says “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” It’s interesting to note, that God says in verse 10, “I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” He upholds us with HIS right hand. Then He says, I will hold THY right hand. His right hand holding our right hand is not a picture of Him walking beside us, holding our hand. But, rather the picture is Him holding out His hand to help us up. A face to face encounter!
He promises never to leave me. Hebrews 13:5 says “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” If you are His child, He will never leave you. He will go through the trials with you, giving comfort, guidance, peace.
His grace will be sufficient. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Who else would you rather strengthen you and sustain you in any difficult situation than the God of all comfort and grace and strength! The fears that we have may never happen in our life; but if we are to face difficult trials, we can know that He will be with us, strengthening us.
We also need to realize that God makes no mistakes. If God takes away a loved one, if you face a discouraging test result, if you face pain and illness, it won’t be because God forgot about you. God will never tell us “Oh, I’m so sorry this happened to you. I forgot all about you, as I was helping somebody else. I didn’t mean for that to happen. Oops.” God doesn’t take His eyes off of us. No, God has a plan and will not make a mistake.
3) We need to realize we have to be surrendered to Him and whatever He wants to bring in our life.
And, whew, is that tough! Surrender to Him does not just include surrender to all the good things He wants to do, but also to the tough trials He may want to bring in my life. Being surrendered to Him will help me keep the right attitude and focus. It will help me not to become bitter.
Surrender is what helped Job say in Job 1:21, “…the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” He faced multiple tragedies one after the other. While one messenger relayed bad news, another would come along and relay another message of bad news. He potentially faced all this bad news within an hour. And yet, he could say “blessed be the name of the LORD.” He had to be completely surrendered before these tragedies ever happened. His surrender kept him from giving up and getting bitter. Job was surrendered, but I don’t believe his wife was. She went through the same tragedies, but she was willing to give up on God and die. Her tragedy was so understandably unbearable, but she was unsurrendered. Her testimony is not the one that God has used for centuries to encourage others in their trials.
How about you, dear friend? How do you face the fears that haunt you day and night?