People across the globe have a lot to be anxious about these days. Worrying quickly turns into fear, which becomes panic and leads to hysteria. Besides the obvious pandemic coronavirus, we have the worldwide economy to be concerned about. Cancer, illness, money problems, job problems, relationship problems . . . the list is endless.
Yet, none of this has taken God by surprise. He wasn’t distracted. He didn’t step away from his throne to take a personal day off, and then come back to find out that somehow this virus crept in. He is still sovereign. He is still good.
The Bible tells us “Do not fear” 365 times. Every day of the year, there is a fresh reminder, new every morning, to not be afraid.
It’s hard to relinquish fear. But there’s good news. We’re not just admonished to stop worrying; we’re given something to replace it. When we surrender our fears to the Lord and affirm our trust in him, he gives us something wonderful to fill every crevice of the place where fear used to live.
We get his peace. Peace that surpasses anything we can try to understand on our own. His peace is different from the fleeting kind that the world gives. Actually, it doesn’t feel like the world gives any kind of peace at all; just more turmoil.
God’s peace is supernatural. We can’t manufacture it on our own. It is a fruit of the Spirit, given to us when we yield control of our lives to him.
I remember being the most frightened that I’ve ever been one New Year’s Eve when I lived in Budapest, Hungary. I came home to find that my flat had been burglarized by the Russian Mafia. They’d been stalking me. After the police left–about 4:00 in the morning, I tried to sleep but I was too afraid. The robbers had cut the doorknob out of my door; my only protection–or so I felt–was to slide my hutch in front of the door.
I scrunched under my down comforter and repeated God’s word that I had hidden in my heart as a prayer. I recited Isaiah 41:10: Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
And Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. . . . Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
I realized my protection didn’t come from having an elaborate security system or a strong guard. My safety was and is found in God alone.
When you start to feel anxious, put his word in your mind. (And continue to wash your hands and be sensible.) Following are just a few of the 365 adages to not fear:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9
Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? ~ Psalm 27:1