In light of the terror attacks in Brussels, fear has once again reared its ugly head for many around the world. For those planning travel, fear may interrupt, or even cancel your plans. If you use mass transit to get to work, fear may cause you to scrutinize fellow passengers and experience a gnawing unease.
In the process of transitioning from one web host to another, I came across the following blog written nearly a year ago. I am thankful to report that the fear that had insnared my daughter is no longer part of our lives. But, with the increase in terror that is happening all over the world, it's easy to see how quickly and assertively fear can take hold. If you are struggling through fear, longing to find peace or a feeling of safety, I hope these thoughts are beneficial to you:
It’s been said that the Bible has enough “fear not” passages to cover all 365 days of the year. I’m not sure that is completely accurate, but the significance of the repeated instruction is not lost on me.
Fear is one of those emotions that, if left unchecked, can quickly become debilitating. It can travel from a nervousness or uneasiness, to a full fledged panic attack, resulting in very real physical symptoms.
My youngest daughter has been going through a season of fear, and it’s hard to know how to help her. The constant fear was triggered by an isolated event, where a perceived threat rattled her deeply. It turned out to be nothing more than a utility worker trying to gain entrance into the backyard for access to the meter, but it frightened her immensely.
Now, harmless noises and non-threatening strangers have assumed a dangerous role in her mind. There is no persuading her or reasoning with her. This is, unfortunately, something that she is going to have to walk through and learn from.
I am not unsympathetic or unfamiliar with what she is battling . I too had a season of irrational fear after two neighborhood fires happened at approximately the same time of night, a few months apart. After the second fire, every morning at 2am I would wake in a panic, every noise causing me fear and distress. It was many months before I was able to find freedom from this nightly ritual.
I imagine many of you also battle fear, though it likely comes in different packages. Perhaps it is fear of terrorism or pain. Or is it fear of isolation or abandonment? Maybe it’s fear of cancer or other health related suffering. So is there hope? A Biblical, grounded hope that we might be set free from fear?
Psalm 23:4 reads: “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.” This passage is often quoted at funerals, but I contend that it’s not speaking about those mourning a loss.
After all, aren’t we all walking through the valley of the shadow of death? We live in a temporary body in a temporary world. We have no guarantee of tomorrow. Yet, this isn’t meant to frighten us more, but give us guidance as to where our focus needs to be. The truth is, we can be set free from the fear of evil as our gaze is fixed on the Shepard.
We are not promised a pain free, difficulty free existence. But, we are guaranteed a blessed eternity of complete peace for those who have given their hearts to Christ. So until we enter into that Kingdom, we must practice setting on minds on the things above, regardless of what valley of turmoil we find ourselves walking through.
With my daughter in mind, I wanted to create a tool to be used when fear begins to creep in. I pray this might help you as well.
F–Faith: Trust that God is in control.
E–Evaluate: Are you really in danger? If yes, call for help. If not, pray for peace.
A–Analyze: What has sparked this fear? Go back to the source and find the truth.
R–Remember: God’s Word says He will never leave or forsake you!
May you find peace and rest as you cast your eyes upon Jesus.