“Mommy!” I heard the frantic scream coming from my sons’ bedroom. I jumped out of my bed and ran down the hall. My younger son was sleeping soundly in his bed. My five-year-old son was the one crying out for me. When I got to the room he said, “Mommy, I don’t know what that loud noise was and it scared me.” I was relieved nothing was really wrong. I told him, “That’s just the noise from the furnace and the heat coming on, everything is fine.” This same child isn’t afraid of thunder or fireworks, but he is scared the air coming on? Oh well. I figured he must have just started to doze off and then the noise woke and startled him, no big deal. I said goodnight, hugged and kissed him, and reassured him, “You know you are safe, mommy and daddy are here to protect you always. And most importantly, God is protecting you.” He seemed satisfied with that to go back to sleep.
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
As I walked out of his room I began to think about what I told my little boy. He is safe, because his parents are with him. To me, his fear of the noise seemed silly, but to him in that moment it was real. I don’t want my children to feel afraid. I want them to rest peacefully because they know their dad and I are just down the hall, always ready to care for and protect them. And God is their ultimate protector.
And of course this little exchange with my son prompted me to look at myself and wonder if I trust God when I am afraid? We tell our children, “Don’t be afraid, go to sleep.” Can I rest peacefully because I know He is always there watching over me, providing for my good, and protecting me? Or do I cling to my fear and worry?
The Bible tells us SO MANY times NOT to be afraid. And yet, it is one of the hardest things in life to put aside. Fear is such a powerful force. But God keeps reminding us that in Him, we don’t have to live scared. Why do we fear so much? Why do we try so hard to be in control of the world around us when we so clearly are not? Is there any good at all that comes from worry and fear?
It doesn’t take long to find something to be afraid of. This topic has been on my mind this week reading about all of the new cases of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. I have been seeing the pictures on social media of grocery store aisles completely empty…water, Tylenol, hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper, to name a few…gone. People are so afraid. Are the fears rational? Maybe. It is scary hearing about people getting sick and dying. Even though we know for the majority, that will not be the outcome, for some it will. This virus is a reminder to me once again that God is in charge and we are just not. We are powerless against so many things in our world, even a tiny virus. We try desperately to be in control, we fall into panic, and that makes us act in ways we normally wouldn’t, like hoarding groceries, or avoiding people because of where they are from or what they look like.
I am certainly not saying to be reckless, or flippant. We need to act responsibly and in a way that honors God in the face of fearful circumstances. We can take all the precautions, wash our hands (and we should anyway), stay home, have all the supplies, but when it comes down to it, we still don’t have very much control over a sickness or some other catastrophe that might arise. What we do have is a choice. On one hand, we can live in fear and panic, trying to be the one in control of every situation. Or we can choose to rest. We can trust our Father God, because He is there, He is good, and He is in control of it all.
If I am being honest, that is much easier said than done. It is something we have to remind ourselves every day. I think about my sons. Seeing them afraid of something they don’t need to be makes me sad. I want them to have peace. I am not mad at them for being scared, but I want them to trust me because I love them. I don’t want them to waste their energy being fearful of something I can take care of for them. I think it is probably the same with God. I don’t think He is angry with us when are scared, but maybe it makes Him sad, because we are wasting our time and energy on something that is so unnecessary. Our Father is right there, and He can take care of it.
The best way I know of to fight against fear is with the promises found in the Word of God, and through prayer. Here are ten of my favorite Bible verses that give us comfort and confidence against fear and worry. I hope you will cling to them whenever you feel afraid.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?”
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18
“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.”
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
God never promised us that we wouldn’t go through hardship, or face scary things. In fact, He tells us that in this life we will have trials. His wonderful promise is that He will never leave us to go through them alone. The most secure assurance we can have is knowing that God will be with us, wherever we have to walk, whatever we have to face.
I know where to go when the fear creeps in. I know who to call out to in the darkness, just like my children call out to me. My Father is right there with me, through any scary situation. He will never leave me alone. I know who I can trust. I know who I can cling to. I know who is all powerful in control. I will trust in You, Lord, when I am afraid.