“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” Ps 119:6a
Ebola. ISIS. Enterovirus. Random shootings. Cancer. Divorce. Miscarriage. Fill in the blank.
What grips you with fear? If this list isn’t enough, I’m sure there is something else you can think of that could create worry in your life. We have opportunities every single day to be overcome by anxious feelings brought on by circumstances out of our control. Turn on the TV or look at the Internet for a few minutes and you stumble across one of these topics which may instantly plant a seed of fear. Unchecked this seed can grow into a vine of anxiety that can easily strangle you. Fear is a normal human reaction but thankfully the Bible shows us exactly how to deal with it.
Let me tell you the bad news. You and I are not promised a safe and sheltered life on this earth. We live in a fallen world stricken with disease and evil. If you dwell on this very long it can produce feelings of despair. Is there any good news? Let me answer with a resounding YES. If we know Jesus, we have no reason to fear. Nothing can happen to you or me without God’s ultimate permission. You are indestructible until the Lord wants you home with Him. If you know Jesus, you are as secure as you can be.
The Bible doesn’t promise safety, but it does promise again and again God’s presence in the midst of every moment, especially the ones we most fear. One of the fear traps we get stuck in is picturing ourselves in a horrible situation without believing our Lord and Savior will be right be our side.
Many years ago my mom found herself face to face with an armed man in our home, his face disguised by a veil of pantyhose. She was by herself- all of us were at school and dad was at work- but she wasn’t alone. The man, an escaped convict, had slipped in the unlocked backdoor and my mom was startled to find him crouched down with a gun. She called out to her Protector, Shield and Defender.
She faced the intruder with what could only have been a supernatural strength and peace- including a low, controlled, strong voice she didn’t even know she had. Although there was a struggle and a gun pointed at her face, her calm and firm reaction threw off the man so much he ended up leaving the house without physical harm to my mom and nothing taken from our home. My mom experienced what many of us would consider our worst nightmare and the Lord showed up, as He always does, and was right there with her.
There is a reason the command to “fear not” is mentioned over 80 times in Scripture. We must arm our minds with this truth: no matter what we face, the Lord is with us (Ps. 91:14-15a). And if He does allow us to suffer or even perish, He promises His presence in it. What security. What safety. What hope.
A wise woman once shared with me a secret to guarding my mind from worry. She said, “God gives you grace for your reality, not for your imagination.” We must focus on what we know to be true today. We do not know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future.