“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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
- Philippians 4:4-8
Christians are commanded many times in Scripture not to fear, nor to be anxious for any reason. Fear and anxiety are different. “Fear sees a threat, while anxiety imagines one. Fear screams, ‘Get out!’ Anxiety ponders, ‘What if?’ Take a minute to write down three ‘what ifs’ that are causing you anxiety – three worries that are weighing you down.” (Max Lucado, Anxious for Nothing).
Three “What If”s:
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Both fear and anxiety forget that “the Lord is near.” God is still in control!
The following is a list of examples of reasons we are tempted to fear or feel anxious. They are followed by passages of Scripture that direct our hearts toward God in these instances.
What if a sickness, virus or disease threatens my very life and/or the lives of my loved ones?
“This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: ‘Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.’”
- Isaiah 8:11-13
What if the test results come back and it’s cancer?
“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
What if life’s circumstances are just too difficult?
“But now, this is what the Lord says . . . “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
- Isaiah 43:1-3
What if I face persecution and my beliefs are mocked?
“Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults.”
- Isaiah 51:7
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
- 1 Peter 3:14
What if I feel alone?
“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.”
- Joshua 1:9
What if I get bad news?
“Surely the righteous will never be shaken . . . They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.”
- Psalm 112:6-8
What if disaster strikes suddenly?
“Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.”
- Proverbs 3:25-26
What if I’m struggling with anxiety?
“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 4:6-7
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
- John 14:27
What if I am confused or don’t know what to do?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
- Proverbs 3:5-6
Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” Another translation reads, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV). There are many things in this life that will tempt us to fear. Our world is facing one right now as the corona virus is fast becoming a global pandemic. God, however, has told us over 100 times in His Word not to be afraid. He tells us not to fear because He is in control. He is our refuge and strength. He is our help in times of trouble!
If you have ever flown on an airplane and experienced turbulence, the pilot and/or flight attendants have undoubtedly reminded you to: 1) take your seat, and 2) fasten your seatbelt. God’s Word tells us to do metaphorically the very same thing in times of fear and “turbulence”.
Psalm 46:1-3 and 10 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling…. Be still, and know that I am God…”
In times of trouble God says, “Be still (take your seat), and know that I am God (fasten your seatbelt).” To paraphrase, Psalm 46:10 is saying, “Take time to be quiet and remember who I am.” To remind yourself of the character and attributes of God is similar to fastening your seatbelt spiritually speaking. The turbulence may continue, but you are still and secure.
“It is only through Scripture, applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that we receive the grace to trust God in everything…. I want you to find rest from the weariness of worry and the plagues of doubt and fear. I want us to be a distinctive people – people who step out in faith even when the future is fuzzy, people whose lives reflect a quiet peace and calm assurance because we have cultivated perfect trust in God” (Swindoll, Perfect Trust).
Blog by Kristi Walker of CrossWay International Baptist Church.
Published on 25. May 2020 from Berlin, Germany.
Photo by William Poulos on Unsplash.