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This is blog #1 in the “Fear to faith series” that covers why and how you can learn to trust God with your fears.
In this blog, we’ll learn 4 truths to grasp and a process to apply faith to any fear that you have
You know that feeling. The pit in your stomach, pounding of your heart, and rush of your thoughts as you go from just the possibility of a job loss to being homeless on the streets—all in a matter of seconds. Gripped by fear.
I can remember times in my life when something happened suddenly that caused that creepy-crawly feeling down my back. One night, a feeling of fear for my oldest daughter’s safey hit me in the chest. I quickly prayed for her protection. Of course, she didn’t answer her phone when I called. So, I had to wait until the next morning to hear from her that she was okay. What a scary night!
Fear is an ever-present emotion with me and with most women. Real fears and imagined fears. Is it realistic to think we can live without fear? No!
The gift of fear
As crazy as it sounds, we need to think of fear as a gift. I bet you’ve never thought of fear as a gift, have you? Hear me out.
Fear is a normal human emotion designed by God to alert us to danger so that we will take action against it. It has a purpose. Take for example the initial response to the coronavirus pandemic. Fear of the virus affecting ourselves and our loved ones spurred us to action. We repeatedly scrubbed our hands, sprayed doorknobs and light switches with Lysol, wore gloves to go to the grocery store, wiped down every item brought into our house, and disinfected even our mail. This was a proactive response to something dangerous.
The dark side of fear
But, we know fear has a dark side as well. I heard Jill Briscoe once say, “Women are a fear-driven, performance-oriented species.” She’s right. Just reading the daily Facebook feed can panic us. Fear-driven. But, what does fear drive us to do? Usually, nothing good. Am I right?
Fear can take root in us and cause us to give way to panic and hysteria. Are you prone to that? When we look at life just with our own eyes, we become fearful, pessimistic, & negative. We think to ourselves, “Nothing’s going to work. I don’t know if I can get through this.”
What God wants us to do when we are afraid
Yet, God knows this about us. I am so grateful for that! He doesn’t want us to stay there—disoriented and hopeless. When we look at the Bible and see how God helped everyday people like you and I, the Holy Spirit uses that to strengthen us and give us courage that we didn’t know we had. We’ll explore more about this in Blog #2: “Face Trouble with Courage and Peace.”
God gives us the answer—Himself! He also gives us the action He wants us to take.
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4)
The Bible doesn’t say, “IF I am afraid.” It says, “WHEN I am afraid.” Fear will happen. And, when we are afraid, God wants us to trust Him and not give way to fear. If fear alerts us to danger, the most significant action is to not give into fear but to trust God with whatever needs to be done.
How do we learn to not give into fear? The answer is to stand firmly on 4 consistent truths so that we can walk from fear to faith.
Apply faith to your fears with these 4 consistent truths:
Truth #1: God loves you.
John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, so you could believe in Him and receive eternal life. You are part of that world that God loves. And, once you accept His gift of eternal life through your faith in His Son, you get even more of God’s love for you.
Paul wrote in Romans 5:5 that God pours out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. As a believer in Jesus, the Father Himself loves you. He pours out His love into your heart so you can experience that love.
As a believer, you can say to yourself with confidence, “I am God’s child, His daughter, totally loved and accepted by Him through my faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Not convinced yet? Read “What God Says about Me: You Are Dearly Loved.”
You can count on Truth #1 — God loves you.
Truth #2: God knows what is going on in your life.
Jesus knew that His followers were stressing about food, clothing and shelter. Those essentials for daily life. Here’s what Jesus told them,
“…do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the [unbelievers] run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:31-32)
In Psalm 139, David describes how God is everywhere and knows everything about him. And, that is true for you. God knows everything. He sees everything. What’s happening to you is not behind some lead door blocking his x-ray vision. God knows what is going on in your life and in my life. If He doesn’t, then He isn’t really God.
He knows your needs and how best to meet those needs. We’ll explore this more in Blog #3: “God Is Bigger than Your Weaknesses.”
You can count on Truth #2 — God knows what is going on in your life.
Truth #3: God can do something about it.
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14) That’s what the angel of the Lord asks Sarah in Genesis 18. Since the angel lives in heaven with God, he should know. So, is anything impossible for the Lord? The answer is, NO! Another angel declared the same thing to Mary in Luke 1:37, “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Both of these statements are made to women. We need that assurance, don’t we? Our God is all-powerful. He has the power and know-how to take away the suffering, to provide the job, to change the threatening situation, whatever “it” is. He is capable of doing anything He chooses to do. But, what He chooses to do will always be in agreement with His character and His purposes. We’ll explore this also in Blog #3: “God Is Bigger than Your Weaknesses.”
You can count on Truth #3 — God can do something about IT. Whatever IT is.
Truth #4: You can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do.
This is the sticky part, isn’t it? Can you and I believe that God is always good? I have an idea of what I think His goodness to me should look like! I bet you do, too. And, I can think of a billion ways that He can be “good to me” that don’t include bad things. I bet you can, too.
The Bible says this:
God is good, and what He does is good. (Psalm 119:68)
Here’s some wisdom from Proverbs,
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; (Proverbs 3:5)
It’s a choice to trust God and bank on His goodness. You and I must make our choice to trust His choice of how to be good to us. We’ll explore this more in Blog #4: Trust God’s Goodness in Addressing Your Pain.
So, here’s Truth #4 — You can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!
A biblical example
One of the best biblical examples of these four truths in action comes from John 11. Martha informed Jesus that her brother Lazarus was sick.
- Jesus loved Martha and her sister Mary and Lazarus (John 11:5).
- Jesus knew what was going on in Martha’s life—Lazarus died (verses 6, 11, 14).
- Jesus could do something about it—He had healed from a distance (John 4:50-53).
- But, Jesus chose to do something different, even better than what anyone could imagine though it caused pain and suffering to those He loved and a lot of waiting, too (John 11:14-15).
After 4 days of being dead, Lazarus was brought back to life, and good things happened. God’s goodness showed up—Lazarus had his life restored. His sisters saw their now healthy brother returned to them. The disciples witnessed an amazing work of God. And, many people now believed in Jesus who had not yet believed in Him.
Martha could now say to herself with assurance, “God loves me. God knows what is going on in my life. God can do something about it. I can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do.” The same is true for you in any situation.
Follow this process to apply faith to your fear.
Whenever you are afraid, follow this 6-step process to apply faith to your fear.
Step 1: Confront it: What fears do you have right now?
Think of the things that make you afraid. The real fears and the imaginary ones. Which ones are the most likely to tempt you to panic or to be terrified? Focus on those.
Step 2. Ask about each one: What is my worst-case scenario?
Start with one of those fears, perhaps the most terrifying one, and ask yourself, “What is likely the worst that could happen?” Think realistically not hypothetically.
Step 3. Consider this: If the worst I can imagine happens, could I handle it through the presence and power of Jesus Christ?
As a Christian, you have the power of the One who created the Universe living inside of you. Ask yourself, “Can He help me get through anything?” The answer is a definite, “YES!”
Hebrews 4 tells us that our high priest Jesus knows and understands what we are going through so we can go to Him for mercy and help in our time of need. That help usually comes from God’s power working on our behalf.
“[God] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20
His power is working in us. Paul says in Ephesians chapter 1 that it is working for us, too. So, say to yourself, “If the worst I can imagine happens, I can handle it through the presence and power of Jesus Christ working on my behalf.”
Step 4. Remember the four truths essential to faith:
- #1: God loves you.
- #2: He knows what is going on in your life.
- #3: He can do something about it.
- #4: You can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do!
Repeat them to yourself. Over and over again. Believe them. Count on them.
Now that you have narrowed down the fear, determined you can handle it through Jesus’ power and presence, and remembered those four truths essential to faith. What’s next?
Step 5. Pray: hand it all to God
Prayer is simply talking to God about anything and everything. This is where you trust the Lord, handing it over to Him, whatever it is.
Thank the Lord for His presence and His goodness and anything else that comes to mind.
Ask Him for the courage and the peace to ride out the storm. Where the Bible is clear, you can claim God’s promises by faith—like the promise of peace that Jesus gave to His followers.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Anytime, you can ask for peace, deliverance and protection. But, you cannot hold God to promises He hasn’t made. He hasn’t promised immunity from natural calamities, from illness, or from troubles.
Step 6. Live life securely in Him: What actions can you take?
Remember that fear as an emotion is designed by God to alert us to danger so that we will take action against it. So, while trusting God and praying for courage and peace, take common sense precautions. Be wise in the world.
Trust God to show you what to do and give you strength to do it when you are weak.
Dear friends, God may not choose to rescue you from everything that is threatening you. But, in any and all situations, you can choose to apply faith to your fear!
In the next blog, we’ll focus on how you can face trouble with courage and peace.
The following Bible Studies and podcasts will give you more biblical insight into how to walk from fear to faith in your life.
- Everyday Women, Ever-Faithful God Bible Study (Old Testament women)
- The Walk from Fear to Faith Bible Study (Old Testament women)
- Satisfied Series 1 Podcasts (Old Testament women series)
- Profiles of Perseverance Bible Study (Joseph, David, Elijah, and Nehemiah)
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