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How is fear faced when it seems to overwhelm us...especially if there seems to be no logical reason for it?
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes. [Ps. 37:3-7, NIV]
We all face fear at times. Sometimes there is an obvious reason for the fear. Maybe we are in danger, maybe we don't know how to feed our family or pay our bills, maybe we have just lost a job. Or maybe we think these or other things are likely to happen. As human beings we like to be in control, to think that we can solve the problem and we feel helpless and often fear if we think we have no control over a situation.
There is another kind of fear as well. It is a nameless fear, a feeling of dread and apprehension when there is no visible cause. Things may be going well, but we are attacked by an almost paralyzing fear and we don't know why. I faced this recently myself. No reason, just fear.
So what do you do when you are attacked by fear? How is fear faced? These kinds of fear provide us with an opportunity to show faith. How? We have no direct control over what we feel. Our emotions respond to what we perceive to be true or other stimuli. In other words, we can't help what we feel. However, what we feel does not have to control how we act.
We must know what is true from God's Word. And then we must choose to act on what we know is true regardless of how we feel. I know that this is much easier said than done. How do we actually do this? Like most things in the Christian life there is no formula. We like formulas because we know that if we do steps 1 - 5 we will get the result. Why do we like that? Because it puts us back in control! By faith, the goal is to move from us being in control to resting in the fact that God is in control...whether we feel like it or not. The only way we can prove that is when we have times when it certainly does not look like Jesus is in control and we know we are not!
So here are some principles - not steps - to consider when you find yourself in this uncomfortable, fearful position.
Be humble. We know that God draws near to the humble. Don't be afraid to go to others, admit what you are going through, and ask for prayer/help. Sometimes we are full of pride and don't want to admit our weakness in case we are embarrassed by it or rejected by those we turn to. Jesus created us to be a true family, to be able to share and receive help from each other. [Note: Sometimes you do have to use wisdom as to whom to share with.]
Meditate on the Word of God. Many times we are instructed to "Fear not" and told that love drives our fear, etc. Mediate on the greatness and majesty of God. See how great He is. Mediate on passages like the one above and Psalm 23. Jesus is YOUR Shepherd, He makes you will like down in GREEN and SAFE pastures! Fill your mind with these FACTS, realizing that if your emotions contradict them then your emotions are lying to you...don't believe them.
Don't miss any service your church holds if you can help it. Being with other Christians - even if they don't have a clue as to what you are going through - can be a big help and encouragement to you. The Lord may even speak to you through something they say even if they are not aware of it.
Finally, engage in praise and worship often. Praise and worship the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for Who the Bible tells us They are. Praise and worship is the Christian's way of making love to God. Praise and worship releases the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. There are times when it is indeed the "sacrifice of praise." But it is sweet and accepted by our loving Father.
As we work through our fears - not giving into them but pressing on one step at a time if necessary - we show our faith in the Word of God, our loving Heavenly Father, the Son our tender Shepherd and the Holy Spirt and Comforter and Strength. Emotions will follow actions. As we continue to act in the way we know is true, over time our emotions will turn and line up with reality.