We live in a world that is well acquainted with fear. It seems everywhere you look, there are more and more things to be fearful of. There are wildfires, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and droughts. And then, you also have bombings, shootings, robberies, kidnapping, piracy and the like. Not to mention cancers, heart disease, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, kidney problems and all kinds of other medical conditions that are difficult to deal with. And don’t forget job loss, bankruptcies and poverty. And that’s not even going on into the regular, “hum-drum” fears such as, “It’s past curfew and my kid hasn’t come home yet. Where is he?” or “Oh my goodness, the furnace broke down again and we don’t have money to fix it” and “I don’t know if I should go out with this guy….does he really like me? Will I say something stupid and ruin it? What if I pass gas publicly? AHHHH!!!!!”
Needless to say, fear does not make us feel good. Our stomachs turn upside down, we lose sleep, we get headaches and migraines. Long term anxiety can be an underlying cause of health conditions such as heart disease and ulcers. In some cases, people are so fear-ridden, they hide from society, never venturing out of their homes. In other cases, people are preparing for Armageddon, ensuring that they not only have a proper food and water supply but enough ammunition to scare off any looters that might want to attack their stockpile. Fear can make us do crazy things.
Fortunately, there is an antidote to all this fear. I’ve noticed that whenever God shows up, the first thing He tells us is “Fear not”.
I can hear your response now. “What??!!??? The antidote to fear is just to NOT fear????? How does that work?!??” Well, give me a chance. I’m getting there. You see, when God is invited to the scene, there is no reason to fear. He’s got your back, Jack (or Jill, if you prefer). The Lord God, who created the universe with just some words, who opened theRed Sea, who calmed the storm, who raised the dead, who scattered the enemy, who conquered sin and death….well, He’s the God of the impossible. And He’s telling you to trust Him.
When Joshua stood at the borders of the Promised Land, knowing that Moses was dead, knowing that there were giants living there and knowing that the people he had to lead into that place were a strong-minded and obstinate bunch, God said to him, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) There are two things to take note of here. Number one, God COMMANDED Joshua to be courageous. It wasn’t a choice. This is what Joshua was required to be. Number two, God commanded him thusly because there wasn’t going to be any need for Joshua to fear…God would be with him WHEREVER he went. Great and mighty God would follow Joshua. He had Joshua’s back.
Now, Joshua is not the only one who God spoke to like this. The bible is full of men and women that had an encounter with God in which He tells them to fear not. And then He leads them to do great and wonderful things for Him. Samuel, David, Jehosephat, Mary, Paul, Peter, Gideon….just to name a few. Joshua did claim the Promised Land. David, a shepherd, became king ofIsrael. Mary gave birth to the Saviour of the World and Paul traveled all over the known world preaching the gospel and performing miracles in the name of Jesus.
Jesus, in teaching about living for Him, says,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifeb?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6: 25 – 34 NIV)
Similarly, Paul teaches the Philippians, “ Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 4 – 7). I like that last part….if I, in any and all situations, with THANKSGIVING, present my requests to God, then the peace of God comes in. Peace, which is the opposite of fear. In fact, God IS love and as, John teaches us “Perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18 NIV).
Now I don’t want people to take this and apply it incorrectly. God has got your back but He won’t support you “fearlessly” stealing from the local jewelry store or “courageously” taking someone else’s spouse as your own, for example. Those kinds of actions are not what God is about. He’ll allow you to live the consequences of your own actions because He loves you enough to let you choose but also loves you enough to let you face your own music.
However, if you are choosing Him, He’s more than able to meet your needs. Whatever those needs are. “Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV) So, don’t be afraid of the future, whatever it brings. God’s in control. Don’t be afraid of what people will say or think of you because you believe in Jesus, God’s on your side. Love fearlessly, worship fearlessly, live fearlessly. Live your life for Him and He will take care of you
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling much better already. Are you ready to live a fearless life?
Monique Carmichael has been serving God as a worship leader and teacher in Clinton, BC for the past 17 years. She is happily married to Brian, sister to Michele, Kim and Nolan and auntie to many beautiful gifts from God.