We feel it in these days.
Fear seems to be seeking a foothold and, in some instances, taking away the peace of many.
I talk to friends and family, and it is the word most often on their lips, even as many of them seek to defy it.
Fear creeps in with circumstances that invade our lives, and we must choose how we will respond, giving in and feeding that apprehension or combating it to take it captive. Once it is allowed to settle into our hearts, it embeds itself like an anchor. The longer an anchor stays grounded in the ocean floor and the winds press against that to which it is attached, the more rooted it becomes. Similarly, as the winds of frightening situations assail us, either directly or indirectly, the anchor of fear becomes even more established into the soil of our souls.
It is important, then, to choose wisely where we will sink our anchor.
It is not that we deny the emotion of fear. Rather, we can acknowledge it, but then, we are called to anchor our lives, our hearts, and our minds in the Hope, which is unshakable, the faith in Him who is able to withstand whatever winds blow.
Jesus told his disciples, and so those of us throughout time that would follow Him, that trouble would come, and we know that often leaves us unsettled. But He also said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!”
Jesus calls us, as He called his disciple Peter, not to look at the waves that threatened to overwhelm but to intentionally set our gaze on Him, the Savior.
In Matthew 14, Peter ignored all fear and walked toward Jesus on the water, but when he remembered the vast waters around him and took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. And we will too. Where we set our eyes and on what we choose to dwell in our minds and hearts will determine how we think, what we do, and how we will respond to God Himself.
“Whatever you choose to set your mind on in those moments when you are feeling fearful and anxious – it’s a choice that you make – is precisely the thing that is going to guide and direct you in those moments.” (Darrell B. Harrison, Just Thinking)
Think on that. If we choose to focus on that thing that is most feared, that thing that most troubles our hearts and minds, that thing that sends us into a pit, we will go deeper into darkness that can be suffocating and, our anchor will be set on what we “feel” and “see” more than on what and Who we know!
But if we set our minds and our hearts on “the God of rest” (Ed Welch), then He will guard and protect our minds in Christ Jesus.
We can go to any number of counselors, seek the encouragement of friends, read encouraging books, listen to reassuring music, sermons, or podcasts, and I share some of those below. All of that has its place, and all of that can be good and helpful; but it cannot be our ultimate source. It cannot supplant the place of digging into God’s Word, time in prayer, and leaning on the Holy Spirit Comforter in the life of the follower of Christ.
For, if our hearts and minds are not set on the Sovereign God, who has promised to never leave us or forsake us, who is indeed in control of all things and will either bring us out of trouble or carry us through it, we will always go back to the pit, that place of great fear.
If we do not intentionally set our mind and thoughts, even speaking to ourselves with Truth to reset them, on the One who has His good purposes and is able to do good for, in, and through us with the circumstances of life, we will always be shaken.
He has promised to redeem every thing for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose so we will be more like Him (Romans 8), to carry His sheep tenderly and bring us “safely home” in the rightness of His time. We can lean hard into that!
For He is faithful to every promise He has made whether or not we feel or understand the “why!”
Many “peddle fear in these days” (Virgil Walker, Just Thinking), but we can refuse it.
The enemy of our souls wants to shift our gaze from the Savior to the waves, but we can reject that draw and choose sure sightedness and steadfast trust. In this way, we will find He gives us the grace to “not fear anything that is frightening.” (I Peter 3:6)
“What matters is what we do when fear arises.” (Darrell B. Harrison)
Cease wrestling with fear alone; give it to the One who has “not given us a spirit of fear but of power, of love, and of sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Call on Him to do battle against the fear that threatens to undo you, and He will faithfully do just that.
Rest in Him, and let the Savior remove the turmoil within.
Take the circumstances as they come and immediately turn them over in prayer to His throne, wait on Him and see Him answer. Sometimes it may not be the answer we want, but He has promised to keep us and help us “endure to the end.” (Matthew 24:13)
It may be that you have to give that fear back to Him throughout your day; do it! He will carry you when you don’t have the strength to fight for peace.
Ask Him to increase your faith, to let you know His presence, to give you the supernatural peace that is not dependent on the outcome of any circumstance but on God alone!
Set scripture on your heart and mind that you can have on repeat in your head and on your lips when fear raises its head. For me, the easiest way is to set it to music or there are many already available that make it easy to hide God’s Word in your heart.
Surround yourself with those who will encourage you in all these ways and for whom you can do the same, each strengthening the other with the Truth!
And above all, rejoice in the Lord, give Him thanks in the midst of unsteady emotions. Remind yourself of all the ways He has been faithful and, if you struggle to think of them, ask Him to bring them to mind!
Yes, set your anchor so that the waves will not overcome, but set it not in fear or worldly wisdom that is easily shaken. Instead, establish it in the firm hold of Jesus, faith in God alone, the Rock of our Salvation! Then, regardless of the circumstances, your foundation will be secure.
“When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.” Psalm 56:3-4
“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.” Isaiah 41:10
(Both of these verses are God’s Word I have sung and continue to sing to myself when I begin to feel the weight of fear creeping in. Reset!)
“He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because He trusts in You, Lord.” Isaiah 26:3
“I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:4-5
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever…
But as for me, it is good to draw near to God.
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may proclaim all Your works.” Psalm 73:26,28
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice…do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4,6-7
Excellent Resources to further combat fear in these days. I will add to this list from time to time. (some links provide but also available on various podcast outlets):
Just Thinking podcast, “Why Are You Afraid?” EP # 113 | Why Are You Afraid? – Just Thinking Ministries
Airing the Addisons podcast, “Let Not Your Heart Nor Your Children’s Heart Be Troubled.” (August 23, 2021)
“Fear Not” Aaron Shust, Ever Be
“Do Not Fear (Isaiah 41:10)” Seeds Family Worship, Seeds of Courage
“My Soul Finds Rest (Psalm 62:1–2)” Seeds Family Worship, When You Lie Down
“Be Still (Psalm 46:10) Seeds Family Worship, When You Lie Down
“Watch Over Me” Aaron Shust, Whispered and Shouted
“Suffering is Never for Nothing” by Elisabeth Elliot
Photo creds: Mili Cook