Fear vs. Faith|
Trusting God in Perilous Times
Q. I know we aren't supposed to be fearful. But, I keep worrying about my kid's safety, worry about going broke, and worry about terrorist attacks and so on. I hear Christians preach we are not supposed to fear like this. I know it's wrong. So, what can I do?
We are living in very stressful times. For the first time in my lifetime or yours we have suffered major setbacks in our country. Many people are going broke. Many of our children are fighting in a scary war where terrorists don't care if they or you live or die. Plus, we now have an ebola pandemic that may result in the "sum of all fears."
Pray Over Everything
Still, I don't believe God wants us to live in a constant state of fear. Paul reminds Christians to not be anxious but to pray about everything with a thankful heart for those blessings we have (Phil 4:6-7).
Substituting Fear with Good Things
It's almost impossible to think of two things at once. So every time you feel fear it might be helpful to replace it with prayer. This may be one of the reasons Paul says to focus on "whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things" (Phil 4:8).
You may wish to write out a "think list" of things you enjoy doing like watching good movies, taking a walk, playing with a child, reading a good book, listening to fine music and so forth. Every time you feel overwhelmed with anxiety and fear you can pull out your Philippians 4:8 Think List and pick one to do.
Memorize Bible Verses
We strongly advise you to memorize a few Bible verses to recite to yourself when emotions careen out of control. Here are a couple:
"You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you" (Psalm 91:5-7, NKJV).
So much for "terrorism."
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" (2 Tim 1:7, ESV).
While it's true that Christians undergo persecution and difficulties, too, that doesn't mean we should give in to fear. The bible tells us,
"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid of them! The LORD your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you" (Deut 31:6).
God never leaves us or abandons us and He never gives us more than we can bear (1 Cor 10:13). As Nancy Missler puts it, all of our trials and troubles are Father-filtered. Nothing happens to you that God doesn't permit first.
This may mean that a missionary friend is allowed to be beheaded on the field while you lose your home to foreclosure. The missionary may have spent years living by faith while you grew up in an atheist home. God may allow her to undergo severe persecution while you learn faith for daily food and shelter. Each one of us is different and can cope with certain stressors that only God knows.
In Training for Reigning
For the Christian trials and persecutions are never meaningless. We are comforted by knowing that our suffering may "result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ"…(1 Pet 1:7). Earth is a school in which we are training for reigning with the King of the Universe (2 Tim. 2:12). Awesome!
So it is futile to worry. God knows what you can take and what you can't.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5, NKJV).
In other words, quit worrying about everything and quit trying to figure-out everything. Trust God and allow Him to care for you as He promises.
Bridges, Jerry. 1988. Trusting God even when life hurts. Colorado Springs: NavPress.
Emilio, V&K. Anxious forebodings. Available from: http://www.remnantreport.com/cgi-bin/imcart/read.cgi?article_id=405&sub=27.
Missler, Chuck and Nancy. 1999. Faith in the night seasons. Coeur d'Alene, ID: Koinonia House.