With everything that is going on in the world today, the spirit of fear seems to be working overtime. We have every reason to fear, but the spirit of fear does not come from God. It can be crippling to anyone who holds on to it.
The devil wants us to be afraid. He wants us to be so overwhelmed that we cannot accomplish the things we need to do. Remember, if God is for us, no one can be against us. We are overcomers! We are to hold fast to God and stand strong.
Recently, I had a personal situation that was causing me much stress and concern. I needed a clear word from the Lord. As I sat on my couch in the middle of the night, I called out to God for a Word that would help me. I hated feeling so badly. I turned in my Bible, looking through many Scriptures, when I came across this one:
“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9,10, NIV).
I felt so much peace as I read it. I had been having feelings that something bad was going to happen to me. I could not shake them at all. Now I felt totally free. All the emotional pain left. Instantly it was gone. Praise the Lord! I knew I was in God’s hands and I needed to continue doing what God had called me to do. I knew I would not be harmed and that God had angels all around me. I knew everything was going to be all right. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought; I knew what God said.
As I was driving the next day, I realized this same Word is true concerning the recent scares we have experienced. We must refuse to worry about what “may” happen. God is going to see us through. He has His angels all around us and we have many Christian friends here for us. Greater still, we have God’s Word and His peace with us 24 hours a day. Even in the middle of the night while everyone else is sleeping, God is awake. He is waiting for us to call out to Him. He is there. He loves us so much. Don’t be afraid… He is there.
“Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence as clear as the dawn and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop your anger! Turn from your rage! Do not envy others – it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land” (Psalm 37:5-9, New Living Translation).
When Fear Chases Me
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)
My eyes popped open and my heart raced when my phone buzzed at 1 a.m. Good news isn’t usually delivered at that hour.
I hopped out of bed and grabbed my phone to read a text: “Mom, police have my dorm on lockdown and are running up and down the hall shouting. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m scared.”
It was Ashley, my daughter who was a college freshman at the time, more than seven hours away from me.
I tried calling her, but the reception was so bad neither of us could make out what the other was saying. Texting was my only option, so I asked a series of questions trying to get a better handle on what was happening.
My hands were shaking. My heart was racing. And I felt intensely helpless.
When she was a little girl and cried out in the middle of the night, all I had to do was run upstairs. I could sit on the edge of her bed and rub her back. I could let her see me. Calm her with my touch. Be there to whisper reassurances.
But that little girl had grown into a college girl living very far away from me.
I couldn’t sit on her bed, and she couldn’t see me. I couldn’t calm her with my touch. I couldn’t whisper those reassurances with my voice.
All I could do was text her.
And that felt completely inadequate in light of the situation.
Scary images assaulted my mind with all the possible scenarios a completely shaken mama conjures up in moments of frightening uncertainty. I sank down to my knees and begged God to clear my head and give me the words to text that would help.
This was one of those times I wished God would appear in a way my eyes could see and give me clear, step-by-step instructions saying exactly what to do.
But I couldn’t see Him. And no Spirit Finger wrote instructions on my wall. Instead, I felt this gentle nudge to pay attention to what He’d already given me that week: A set of verses a friend texted me and that I’d passed along to another friend, which includes our key verses today.
Psalm 91:1-2, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”
I love that these verses give us a script to say out loud, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Quickly, I texted Ashley these verses and instructed her to say this out loud over and over until she felt some relief from her fear. And you better believe I was saying it out loud over and over as well.
Isn’t it interesting the two words God is called here are refuge and fortress?
A refuge is a quick place you duck into to find shelter. A fortress is a place built intentionally for the purposes of exceptional security. The Hebrew word for fortress is metsudah, with one of its definitions being an “inaccessible place.”
God is not just a quick refuge from the storm, but He’s also the place where fear no longer has access to me.
Fear can’t catch what it can no longer reach.
It’s not that bad things won’t happen to my kids or me. We live in a broken world where broken things happen every day. But as a child of God, I don’t have to live with fear taunting and terrorizing me.
We still don’t know all the reasons why my daughter’s dorm was on lockdown. Thankfully, she and her friends were safe and we all eventually got some sleep that night. I understand that other middle-of-the-night calls don’t turn out so well. I’ve sadly lived through those times too.
But I’m determined to make some imperfect progress when I’m processing fear.
I now know I can feel afraid, but I don’t have to live afraid.
I can say out loud, “Dear God, You are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” And then close my eyes and picture Him lifting me to a place where fear can’t hold me.
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident.” – Psalm 27:1-3 NASB
David had many opportunities to be afraid. As a boy, he faced attacks from wild animals. As a young man, he confronted the giant, Goliath, and the armies of Israel’s enemies.
Then David faced the wrath of King Saul, who came to view him as a rival to be eliminated. But, in every situation, David found that he could trust in the Lord and that this trust took away his fears.
There are many reasons why each of us might experience fear. We can be afraid because of the situations we face or the forces that are coming against us. We might feel overwhelmed or unsure of what to do. We might be asked to do something that is difficult. Yet, as David learned, we can be delivered from fear by focusing and depending on the Lord.
David declared that he realized God was his light and salvation. This means that the Lord gives us the right perspective on life. We don’t need to fear wars or opposition, personal problems or uncertainties. We don’t need to be afraid if we make mistakes, have weaknesses, or don’t know what to do.
As we trust in the Lord, He will light our path and provide everything we need. If we focus on Him instead of on our problems, He will give us strength and take away our fears.
Is there any fear in your life? Look to God. Meditate on His promises and confess them as true.
Trust in Him. Let Him be your light and salvation. Make Him your stronghold. You can be safe and secure in Him.
Father, You are my light, my salvation, and the stronghold of my life. I will not fear, no matter what happens. I trust in You completely. Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Streams In The Desert
Likewise also the Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).
This is the deep mystery of prayer. This is the delicate divine mechanism which words cannot interpret, and which theology cannot explain, but which the humblest believer knows even when he does not understand.
Oh, the burdens that we love to bear and cannot understand! Oh, the inarticulate out-reachings of our hearts for things we cannot comprehend! And yet we know they are an echo from the throne and a whisper from the heart of God. It is often a groan rather than a song, a burden rather than a buoyant wing. But it is a blessed burden, and it is a groan whose undertone is praise and unutterable joy. It is “a groaning which cannot be uttered.” We could not ourselves express it always, and sometimes we do not understand any more than that God is praying in us, for something that needs His touch and that He understands.
And so we can just pour out the fullness of our heart, the burden of our spirit, the sorrow that crushes us, and know that He hears, He loves, He understands, He receives; and He separates from our prayer all that is imperfect, ignorant and wrong, and presents the rest, with the incense of the great High Priest, before the throne on high; and our prayer is heard, accepted and answered in His name.
–A. B. Simpson
It is not necessary to be always speaking to God or always hearing from God, to have communion with Him; there is an inarticulate fellowship more sweet than words. The little child can sit all day long beside its busy mother and, although few words are spoken on either side, and both are busy, the one at his absorbing play, the other at her engrossing work, yet both are in perfect fellowship. He knows that she is there, and she knows that he is all right.
So the saint and the Saviour can go on for hours in the silent fellowship of love, and he be busy about the most common things, and yet conscious that every little thing he does is touched with the complexion of His presence, and the sense of His approval and blessing.
And then, when pressed with burdens and troubles too complicated to put into words and too mysterious to tell or understand, how sweet it is to fall back into His blessed arms, and just sob out the sorrow that we cannot speak!