It’s easy to say “don’t be afraid,” but here’s scripture to help you face what frightens you.
Posted in , Nov 15, 2021
As I recovered from heart surgery this summer, I was surprised by how fears—unwanted, uninvited fears—would haunt me. What if I had to go back to the hospital? What if I wouldn’t get back to my usual self? What if I’d never find peace of mind again?
It’s all very well to tell yourself, “Don’t be afraid,” but if you’ve suffered from trauma, little things can take you back. Even something as simple as going up a flight of stairs would remind me of the breathlessness I had felt before surgery. I had prayed then. I needed to pray now.
1) When I am afraid, I put my trust in you (Psalm 56:3). Fear is a natural enough emotion for us humans. I find I get into more trouble by pretending it’s not there than actually confronting it, as the Psalmist reminds me. Doing something about it, in prayer.
2) There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear (1John 4:18). The antidote to fear isn’t some sort of brazen courage or plucky confidence, it’s love. Reminding yourself of God’s love and savoring it. Loving myself as God loves me. Love is here to cast out fear.
3) The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6). The other day I was sitting with a group of friends from church, prayer partners. It suddenly occurred to me, “All these people prayed for me. They are part of the reason I’m here.” Accept that the Lord is on your side, and you will discover that you are never alone. The Spirit fosters community.
4) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15). I love how Paul acknowledges our very habit to fall back into fear. We thought we had moved away from it, but there it is, lurking in the shadows of our souls.
The solution? A very simple direct prayer, “Abba! Father!” Not some distant formal language but “Abba” which is like saying “Papa” or “Daddy,” our beloved Father, exclamation point!
5) Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God…Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows (Luke 12:6). It’s so easy to get trapped into thinking that God doesn’t really care about some mundane thing that has us in a snit fit. Think again, Jesus is saying. If God can remember those sparrows sold for two pennies, how can He forget what’s bothering us?
6) Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea (Psalm 46:2). Monstrous things might happen, disasters right and left. We can pray along with the Psalmist—note it’s “we,” all of us doing it. We will not fear because there’s a power bigger than us in charge. Just the One to look after our fears.