learned a long time ago that it was perfectly okay to be afraid of certain things.
Written by Gary Fleetwood on 09/07/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Anxiety, Fear, Peace
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
I learned a long time ago that it was perfectly okay to be afraid of certain things. In fact, fear can be a great motivator to help someone stay away from things that may be very harmful to their life. Fear can help a person be much more careful when in a very dangerous situation. There is a particular beach fairly near where we live that has a very strong undertow.
Unfortunately, each year people become careless when swimming at that beach and they get caught in the undertow and drown. When we go to that beach with our grandchildren, we stay right there with them and do not leave their side for fear that they could easily drown. I live out in the country and we have some heavy tractor equipment to help keep up our property. Most every piece of that heavy equipment is very dangerous when it is running and can kill someone very easily. So, we have a healthy fear of each one of those pieces of equipment and treat each one with great respect.
So, how should someone deal with real fear?
When used in the Bible, the word “fear” generally refers to something that causes anxiety and frightens a person. Fear could almost be considered as an alarm system that something may not be right and that something very dangerous may be happening. Fear has the ability to terrify us and cause us to panic. I have often heard people say that they were “scared to death” of something. My son-in-law, who is a very big and strong young man, is “scared to death” of heights. He almost refuses to get on a tall ladder to fix something. So, we know that certain circumstances can make us afraid. When that happens, notice the simplicity of what Psalm 56:3 says that a person should do.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)
Often times God uses frightening circumstances to help teach us that we can always trust Him. He is right there with us and He wants us to know that truth in a very real way. When my wife was teaching our young children how to swim, they were very afraid at first. They were afraid of the water being over their head because they did not know how to swim and were afraid that they might drown. Yet, I can remember how my wife stayed right there with them, and she would constantly be saying to them “Don’t be afraid. Mommy is right here with you.” Well, that is what this verse says to us when we may be afraid. God is saying to us “Don’t be afraid. I am right here with you.” He knows exactly what is happening to us and has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us.
What can God’s peace do for me?
In our verse in John 14:27, Jesus knew that after He was resurrected that His disciples were going to be facing many very difficult moments in their life that could easily cause them to be afraid. They would be beaten, thrown in jail, and eventually put to death. However, in the midst of all of those potentially fearful moments, Jesus wanted them to know that He had something that they needed. He had a supernatural “peace” that He would give to them in the midst of those fearful moments. When He spoke those words to them, they were afraid then that He was going to leave them and that greatly frightened them. What Jesus is saying to anyone who becomes afraid of something or someone is that one thing that is desperately needed in those circumstances is His peace. His supernatural peace is something that creates a calming effect in a person’s life. His peace helps reassure us that He is really in complete control of our circumstances. When my children were afraid of drowning, my wife was in complete control of their safety and would never have allowed them to drown. She wanted them to have great peace in the midst of something that was making them afraid – and the same is true of what God desires for our life as well. He is always in complete control of everything that is taking place in our life, and He wants us to understand that spiritual reality.
So, what should I do when I become afraid?
Well, more than anything else, we need to always be committing ourselves to our heavenly Father. By fully committing ourselves to Him, we are learning to trust Him. The greater our trust in His love and care for us, the less fear we will experience when the very difficult moments come in our life. Fear has the ability to paralyze a person both emotionally and spiritually. It has the power to overcome them so that they cannot function in life. I know a young man who was severely injured in an automobile accident and he was completely paralyzed from his neck down. He cannot do anything for himself – and that is exactly what fear does to a person. It prevents them from being able to see God’s hand in their circumstances and it takes their focus off of God and puts it on their circumstances. However, God desires the opposite – that our difficult moments help us to place our focus on God, and so there will always be times in our life when He allows us to be in circumstances that make us afraid so that we can learn that He can be trusted even in the midst of those trying moments.
Pray this week:
Father, I know that different things often make me afraid, but I truly want You to be the center of my life. I do not want to be paralyzed by fear. Would you please help me to face the fears that seem to threaten my life and to genuinely give them to you?
Would you be willing to write down all of the things that make you afraid and give that list to God and ask Him to help you overcome each one of them?
Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member