A few nights ago my daughter and I started talking about the future—our hopes, possible plans, and our fears. Late at night isn’t my best time for this type of conversation, but there we were. I was already tired and a little emotional and I found myself getting stuck on the fears. I felt it when it started—the tight feeling in my chest and tears threatening to spill, and I knew I had to interrupt my thoughts.
We decided to call it a night and get ready for bed. Sometimes a change in activity or topic of conversation is all it takes to change the mind’s focus. But oftentimes, it’s not that easy.
I reminded myself that while what I feared was possible and could happen someday, it wasn’t imminent. As far as I knew, it wasn’t likely to happen, in the near future… or at all.
Fear can be a bully. It wants to stop us in our tracks and paralyze us from moving forward. Fear wants to spoil today and make us dread tomorrow.
Fears Are Good & Bad
Fear, while a natural instinct that can help us avoid danger, is also a tool of the enemy. He’ll use it to convince us that any outcome we can’t see must be bad. He wants us to fear for our loved ones and ourselves. He wants us to fear a negative change in circumstances. He’ll encourage us to fear anything and everything because he knows how quickly we can become prisoners to fear.
But, what the enemy doesn’t mention, even though he knows it and hates it, is that God can bring something good from anything we go through.
Please don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that everything we go through is enjoyable, nor am I saying we should be all smiles when we have to walk through the hardest thing we ever imagined.
However, with God, the possibility for good is always there, even when we can’t see it or feel it, and especially when we can’t even fathom how good could come about.
We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.Romans 8:28 The Voice (emphasis mine)
He is able to orchestrate everything (Not just some things. Everything!) to work toward (Meaning we might not see it immediately.) something good and beautiful.
Because God is able, we are able to move forward despite fear.
God > Fear
God knows when fear is necessary to make us alert to a dangerous person or situation. But, He also knows what living in fear does to us. Perhaps that’s why we find “do not be afraid” so many times in the Bible. God knows what constant fear and dread do to His people, in the Old Testament, New Testament, and today.
In the second book of Timothy, Paul reminds us…
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].2 Timothy 1:7 Amplified Bible
Fear of “what-if” and “how will I” feeds on today’s peace.
There’s nothing wrong with planning ahead. In fact, if we acknowledge today what we’re concerned of for tomorrow and there’s something we can do about it, then let’s do it. For example, concern for my health years from now may lead me to change my diet today. Or, concern for my financial future may help me make better spending and saving decisions today.
However, the unhealthy kind of fear that makes us miss the joyful moments of today is not beneficial. That’s where the enemy steps in and encourages the flow of fear and worry that permeates everything we see and do. That’s what happened when I found myself in tears over something that may or may not ever happen. It’s not that I don’t still think about it at times, but paralyzing fear doesn’t help tomorrow. It only takes everything away from today.
Fear _____, but God…
Fear is a bully, but God is stronger than the biggest bully.
Fear is powerful, but God is so much more powerful.
Fear can grip us, but God can release us from that grip.
The enemy uses fear against us, but in the presence of Jesus, the enemy and his tools shrink away and have no power against us. And that is always good.