I originally wrote this for My Journey of Faith online magazine in October 2012. Today I am revisiting it to meditate on these verses and apply them to my life this week. On Monday, our daughter will start 1st grade at a new school. I know, it sounds silly to be fearful/anxious about something so normal but there’s just a lot to take in and a lot going through my head. SO I need to focus on what God tells me about fear and anxiety and that only in Him will I find the peace I need to not only get through life but 1st grade too :). He goes before us! He knows. Ahhh I am feeling better all ready. Praying these words encourage you in any fear or anxiety you may be experiencing. He is bigger than our fears and can calm us of all uncertainties.
“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed”
What if fear did not exist?? What if there was no such thing as that annoying little word that can do so much?? What would you do?? What would you say?? Who would you become?? How often does fear hold you back??
As I attempt to plan a 10 year anniversary trip with my husband, I have found myself full of fear. Fear of flying over the ocean, fear for our safety in another country, fear of leaving our children, the list goes on and on. I am slightly annoyed with these fearful feelings that keep cropping up, but it has really made me think about fear, how often I let it control me, and how, as a believer, this fear goes directly against what God has taught me in His word. I don’t have to define it, we know what it is. Any anxiety, nervousness, apprehension, anticipation, feelings of being afraid or scared is all the result of an underlying fear from within. There’s fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of change. Fear of dying or losing someone we love. Fear of what others think. The list is endless!!
Fear has stopped me dead in my tracks and kept me from saying something I know the Lord wants me to say. It has kept me from doing things I know God wants me to do, and for a long time, I know it held me back from giving myself completely to Jesus. Ultimately, and if we let it, fear will keep us from being the person God designed us to be.
Throughout the different translations of the Bible, fear in its various forms is mentioned numerous times—well, actually it’s mentioned A LOT. God knows it is in our human nature to fear, but over and over He tells us “Do not fear.” “Do not be afraid.” In His Word (and on our knees in prayer), He equips us with all we need to get through our fears. One of my all time favorite verses of Scripture that I cling to is Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail or forsake you. DO NOT FEAR or be dismayed” (emphasis added). He goes ahead of us. He KNOWS what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and why it’s going to happen. We all too often can only see what’s directly in front of us, or whatever we are facing, but He sees the big picture. The whole entire thing. Regularly, I have to remind myself of this because my thoughts can certainly carry me away from the fact that He is all knowing, He loves me and He has a plan—and it’s PERFECT. That is so comforting, and in that, I find peace.
To me, the opposite of fear is faith. Jesus spoke it Himself in Matthew 8:26 “Why are you afraid, you have so little faith?” FAITH is what it’s all about. It’s a core theme throughout Scripture and any fears we have chip away at our faith. We can’t have both, can we? God’s desire is for us to have complete trust in Him, in all we do, no matter how big or small it may be. He wants us to BELIEVE that He will cover our fears with the comfort of His grace, but we have to seek Him first in our fears. We have to turn to Him first when fear starts creeping in. Go to His word, get on our knees, and recognize that those thoughts are NOT from Him. He HAS NOT given us a spirit of fear. But of power. Love. And a sound mind. How awesome and comforting is that? It’s right there in 2 Timothy 1:7. He has not given us a spirit of fear. HE does NOT want us to fear or worry. Philippians 4:6, 7 “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything….then you will experience God’s peace…” May we all turn our fears into prayers and find peace in the fact that God is in control.
So I have a choice. Will I be fearful, afraid, anxious or worried about this trip and while on this trip? Or will I have faith that God is who He says He is: my fortress, my refuge and strength when I am weak, my light, and my helper. Will I listen and seek Him first in my fear? He CAN and will give me what no one else can: Peace. Isaiah 26:3 “You Lord give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” Truly I can conquer fear by trusting in the Lord. I choose to trust. After all, can all our worries add a single moment to our lives? (Matthew 6:27)
What will you choose??