FAITHING THROUGH FEAR
All of us, no matter who we are, or how long we’ve walked with the Lord, have to deal with fear. There are so many things in life that come our way that fill our hearts and minds with fear. Fear can be overwhelming and debilitating. Fear can make us physically sick, break us mentally, and dominate our emotions. Fear has been one of the greatest challenges of my entire Christian life.
There is only one possible way to live a life without fear. That would be to live in a world where nothing exists that could possibly make you fearful. But we know that is not a possible, plausible reality until we get to heaven and the new earth! In the meantime, the only other option is faith in God while living with fear. What I call faithing through fear.
I will tell you honestly, I have had to walk through things in my Christian life that have left me sick with fear and trembling. I often reflect on this verse.
Psalm 55:4-8 NLT
My heart is in anguish. The terror of death overpowers me. Fear and trembling overwhelm me. I can’t stop shaking. Oh, how I wish I had the wings of a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape–far away from this wild storm of hatred.
I have found tremendous comfort in David’s self-revealing words, knowing that David, the great man of God and faith, felt exactly what I have felt. I have faced such hatred in my life from those who were close to me. I have faced false accusations and injustices that destroyed my entire life’s work and reputation. I have faced the betrayal and abandonment of the friends I held most dear and sacrificed my life for. I have watched loved ones afflicted with illnesses that broke my heart and filled me with dread as doctors maligned me and falsely accused me. I have faced overwhelming challenges of job losses, no money, no savings, no insurance, and scared to death we would go completely broke with nowhere to live and nothing to eat. I have faced the grave injustices of the judicial system and the wrongs they inflict. I have faced the fear of several children and grandchildren possibly dying. I have spent days in tears, as I imagined what dreadful thing was coming next. Only too often having it arrive just as I imagined it. I have had to speak in front of thousands of people fully self-conscious of my own inadequacies, my frailties, and weaknesses on full display, with no way to hide them. I have had to preach things that I knew God told me to say, that would be very unpopular, causing some to respond to me with hostility and malicious criticism. Even now in my life, there are things I am facing that could cause such fear as to completely overwhelm me.
I share all of this for two reasons. First, so you would understand, I am not pretending to have never dealt with fear. Secondly, I know the way through fear firsthand, and if I did not, I would not only not be doing this ministry, I would be mentally, emotionally, and physically a completely broken man.
If we don’t learn to faith it through fear we will never make it through life. You will not survive!
Here are the things that have helped me faith my way through fear.
1. A firm, unrelenting belief in a supernatural all-powerful God! We must maintain and renew a fresh vision of Almighty God!
The only reason to pray to God is because we believe he exists. That He has all the power to rescue us, save us and bring us through our overwhelming circumstances and fears. If God is not God then all hope is lost.
I buttress my faith every day by reflecting on the mighty power of God in creation, in salvation, and through praising him in prayer for his greatness, and his divine attributes! This greatly strengthens and reinforces my faith. I read and revisit the miraculous stories of God’s divine interventions in the Bible, which always fill me with renewed hope and faith that he is the same God to me.
2. I review daily the promises of God to me in my Bible. Literally, I emotionally and mentally cling to them. Such as: Is.43:1-5 NLT
“But now O Mark, the Lord who created you says:” Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the holy one of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba as a ransom for your freedom. Others died that you may live. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored and I love you. Do not be afraid I am with you.”
There is a profound truth-reality in this passage that I must choose to live in, rather than continue to live in the fears that pervade my mind and thoughts. Faith is an assurance of what is hoped for, a conviction of unseen realities! Heb.11:1 BERK. I learn to live in those unseen realities of God’s supernatural power and peace, instead of the seen and felt realities of fear.
3. Prayer takes me to another world. The supernatural world of God. Prayer allows me to enter into God’s reality.
The discipline of prayer, pouring out my heart, my fears, and my emotions to God alleviates great stress and overwhelming emotions. Prayers of thanksgiving and praise to God transport and transfix my mind and my thoughts on the infinite God whose power is absolute, who possesses everything I could possibly need to save me. Prayers of thanksgiving and praise magnify the Lord in my mind and emotions! To Magnify means to make something bigger! Just as a magnifying glass makes something much bigger for your eye to see. Most of us allow our fears to run rampant, making God and his power minuscule and impotent in our own eyes. You will never faith your way through fear without a disciplined, vigorous prayer life. This was David’s great secret! Praying calms my spirit and my mind.
4. Some things only God can fix!
I have come to realize, accept, and embrace, that there are so many situations that I just can’t fix. I have had to learn to let go, to resign myself, to still and quiet myself in the knowledge that: God, I cannot solve this one or fix this one, only you can! Then I take that very thing needing to be fixed to God every single day, earnestly in prayer, deliberately trusting him to fix it in his time, and his way. I believe this is the deep and profound meaning of Psalm 46!
Without this realization and belief, I could never rest or relax for a moment.
5. Practice Psalm 55 and Psalm 145 every day.
Read and observe these carefully in the NLT version and you will be amazed at what they reveal to you. Practice what they reveal to you.
6. Practice the Jesus way! Most Christians are missing this completely!
Luke 5:16 – But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. NIV
Mark 1:35 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
This has been my practice for 47 years. I go out to lonely, isolated places, away from people, away from the noise, and in the quiet, calm of those places, pray, and pray and pray. There are always parks to go to where you can find isolation and solitude, or places like my garage sanctuary. I rise before dawn, get out of my house, and prayer-walk in my garage sanctuary, long before the world wakes up. You must learn to embrace the quiet, the solitude, and leave the distractions behind. Then and only then will you connect deeply with God and hear his voice.
7. God is where I hide! The refuge of God is the only place you will ever truly find rest and safety. Ps. 91:1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty! This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I am trusting him.
I look back on the last 47 years of my life, all the catastrophic, frightening things I have walked through, all the afflictions, adversities and trials endured, all the buckets of tears, and fears, and lo and behold! Here I am still standing, walking with the Lord, still proclaiming and exclaiming, He alone is my refuge, my place of safety, He is my God and I am trusting Him.
Remember: Faith it and you’ll make it!
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling