When I Am Afraid…

Security – we all want it. We are told that building walls will bring more security, that government programs will give us more security, that finding the perfect man or woman will make us feel more secure; yet that sense of feeling secure and being at peace still eludes us. Perhaps we seeking our security in the wrong place.

Fear – we all seem to have it. Fear pounces on us when we feel insecure. Fear robs us of peace. Fear causes us to make decisions based on desperation. We desperately want to feel secure but things like finances, relationships, or circumstances beyond our control rob us of that sense of security. When faced with fear, we often resort to a fight or flight response.

When we go the “fight” route, we assume we have to take some drastic action to immediately fix our situation. If you do not have that special someone in your life and everyone else seems to have found their “soul mate,” you may rush into a relationship just to have someone there for you. I have seen women and men make incredibly bad relationship decisions – some do it over and over again. Their fear is being alone, so they are willing to do nearly anything to have the “security” of a special person in their lives.

When we default to the “flight” mode, we try to hide from the circumstances that make us insecure. If you are struggling with finances, you may simply choose to ignore that the bills piling up and the bank account that is running precariously low, and make decisions to make yourself feel more secure in the moment. I have seen people whose finances are a real mess choosing to go on online shopping sprees or head to the nearest Target for some retail therapy. It’s a band-aid approach that only hides the problem for the moment- and, in the long term, makes it worse.

I find it interesting how many times God reminds people to not be afraid. I have heard it said that the Bible contains 365 “do not fear” verses, one for every day of the year. Well… I’m not sure who came up with that number. It sounds wonderful and encouraging, but the problem is that it isn’t true. If you search or “fear not” or “do not be afraid” on an online Bible, you’ll probably get around 30 results, more or less depending on the translation. If you counted up all the verses in the Bible that could be see as God encouraging people not be afraid, you may get a little over 100. In other words, you’d have to do some major rewriting of Scripture to get anywhere close to 365.

That being said, there is no doubt that God speaks directly and forcefully to the issue of fear in our lives. Fear is incompatible with faith in an Almighty, all-loving God. We fear because of our insecurity, but God has made some precious declarations that can defuse our fears and bring real security to our hearts and minds. Here is just a taste –

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
(Psalm 23:4)

…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9)

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
(Psalm 27:1)

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.
(John 14:27)

There is no fear in love, but perfectlove casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
(1 John 4:18)

Are you insecure? Are you afraid? There is a God who promises to be your source of security. He is a rock, a fortress, a stronghold, an ever present help in time of trouble. He is not far off; He is near. Call on Him. Cast your cares on Him knowing that He cares for you. Here’s one more verse that we’d all do well to memorize and repeat to ourselves over and over…

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
(Psalm 56:3)

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