Do we not live in a time of fear and fear-mongering? Are our lives not enveloped by fear from all sides? Fear of accidents, war, poverty, difficulties, loss, sickness, old age, and loneliness; fear of sinning and being sentenced to damnation; fear of death and eternal judgement.
A life under these circumstances still means something. But let us ask ourselves: Do our lives need to be filled by fear? Should it not be possible to become free of this fear? Or must its dark clouds hang heavily over every life? Must we, as children of God, live in constant fear?
How many diseases and difficulties do we suffer in our minds without them ever actually happening? This can rob us of so many happy hours in our lives! Is it not better to read the Word of God and find comfort there than to worry about potential threats and diseases in an imaginary future? Faith and trust are two effective weapons in the fight against fear.
A Christian woman from Korea once brought a testimony about what Christ had done for her. “The greatest blessing God gave me was in an area that might not seem nearly as important to you as it has been to me. Before I knew Jesus, I spent several hours lying awake almost every night, tortured by terrible thoughts and worries about what kinds of illness and suffering evil spirits could cause in our family. However, since accepting Jesus Christ, I have been putting my family and our possessions into God’s hands every night. Once I’ve done that, I go to bed and sleep peacefully through the night.”
When the fear of difficulties wants to trouble us, we have this promise in His Holy Scriptures: “I will be with him in trouble” (Psalm 91:15). In times of trouble, we find comfort in the words “I will fear no evil; for You are with me” (Psalm 23:4). When we suffer a loss, Paul reminds us, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
When illness confines us to our beds, let us remember the words of the Lord, who commanded, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (Mark 5:36). Even when old age sets in—when the years draw near when we say, “I have no pleasure in them”—the Lord promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Even in financial difficulties, when fear threatens to overwhelm our hearts because the bills are piling up and we do not know how we can possibly pay them all, we can draw new strength from the Scriptures, which tell us, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
God’s Word also contains many promises for sinners. We only need to sit down one day and search the Scriptures for them. Jesus died on the cross for our sins: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
When our sins have been forgiven, we no longer need to fear judgment. We no longer need to be afraid to one day face God and reap what we have sown. Yes, the thought of the end of our lives need no longer be a terrifying one. Regardless of whether death comes swiftly or slowly, we can entrust ourselves into the hands of the Heavenly Father and know that everything will be all right. “Do not be afraid of sudden terror…when it comes,” we read in Proverbs 3:25.
Years ago, I suffered just such a sudden, terrifying shock. I had been getting ready for the first morning service of a revival meeting when I was bitten by a highly venomous spider. I recognized the spider and knew that its bite could be fatal.
For a moment, I stood very still. I remembered what happened when Paul was bitten by a venomous snake in the book of Acts: the poison could not harm him, doubtlessly because of his faith in God’s limitless power. I was reminded of the scripture, “You shall not be afraid…of the arrow that flies by day” (Psalm 91:5). Many other comforting verses and promises also came to mind. I was filled with a deep peace. I knew that God would take care of me. I got into my car to make the 100-kilometre drive home. Along the way, I sang reassuring hymns and recited one promise after another.
When I arrived home, the spider’s poison had brought me to death’s door, but I was not afraid. I was able to call a doctor myself. He immediately asked how swollen the area surrounding the bite was and began to prepare me for my end. However, when I looked at the bite so I could answer the doctor, I noticed that the area was not swollen. After a few days, the pain receded. How wonderful are God’s promises when fear threatens to ambush us as we go through our lives!
The best way for us to conquer our fears is to love Christ with all our heart, strength, and soul. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). This does not preclude the existence of difficulties and dangers, but God’s love for us and our love for Him let us be absolutely certain that He will be there for us and take care of us.
“I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you” (Isaiah 41:10). In the midst of all fear, our lives can have a purpose—but only if God’s love fills our hearts. Our love of God should go hand in hand with our prayers. As the psalmist writes, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).