By Dr. Harold Sala
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. Psalm 56:3, KJV
The person who says he is afraid of nothing is either totally ignorant of what’s out there or else is a liar! Fear is one of our most formidable enemies, and it comes at us from a variety of sources, often exploiting the hairline cracks in our defenses, rendering us vulnerable, incapacitated, and defeated.
Here’s how some of our Guidelines’ listeners expressed it.
“I’m a mother 26 years old, and I have a terrible fear of death and sickness. I have a daughter two years old, and I’m expecting another child. I don’t want my children to grow up having the same feelings about life that I have… I just can’t get rid of this terrible fear of death and dying.”
Another wrote, “My mother died of bilateral breast cancer and I took care of her and watched her die a terrible death. The fear of contracting this disease hangs over me and is always in the back of my mind.”
A third writes, “I’m very fearful about the future and the present world situation. Is there any real hope that our children may grow up in a normal world?”
And there you have a biopsy of the deep fears rooted in the lives of people today. Fears come in all sizes and descriptions. Some are afraid of heights; some of having to speak in front of crowds of people; some fear death; some fear war, and destruction; some fear getting sick; some growing old; some fear the dark; some being alone; some running out of money before they die; but almost all people when they are honest, regardless of their age or status in life, admit to being afraid of something.
Death is the ultimate robber baron that takes away your life, but fear is the constant stalker that deprives your of peace of mind and contentment. Not all fear is bad. And God did not build in a self-destruct button when He allowed us to know fear. By fearing certain things, we protect ourselves against them and thus escape their grasp.
Question: Where is God when you are afraid? A present help in the time of trouble, or far away in His temple in heaven, too distant to be of any help? Before you answer that, go to the Bible and find out exactly what it says about fear and how you manage it.
Start with Isaiah 41:10, where God said, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Read Psalm 23, the Shepherd Psalm, where David cried out, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4, KJV).
Read Luke 12 where Jesus comforted the disciples saying, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Someone with a flair for details counted some 365 “fear nots” in the Bible–one for every day of the year.
At some point you have to ask, “Am I God’s child?” and “If God is concerned about my life as the Bible so clearly says, then why am I so afraid?” When David was in the hands of his enemies, he wrote Psalm 56, and in this he said, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you [meaning in God]” (Psalm 56:3). And when you do that, you will be amazed how your confidence in God helps you dispel your fear.
Resource reading: Psalm 23.