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
When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I had probably one of the most terrifying events occur in my life that I will never forget. I was outside of my grandmother’s house hanging out with one of my cousins. It was one of those hot summer days in either June or July and we were just being kids and basically up to nothing in particular. My grandmother had this stainless steel freezer about two and one-half to three foot high that she, at one time, kept her dry cooking ingredients such as flour, corn meal, etc. in. This freezer had been taken outside and was sitting on the far end of the house as it had been retired from her use. Like a cat filled with curiosity, I climbed into the freezer just to see if I could fit inside. It’s door swung open from the front and just as I was settled inside, a gust of wind slammed the door shut and immediately, I became its prisoner. Unknowingly, my cousin had just been picked up by her mom, so I was trapped in this confined space with no way or no one who could help free me. Instantly, I began to scream out in fear and terror of being locked inside. The screams led to tears, then panic set in and from there hyperventilation. I also remembering crying out to God to save me! I went through every emotion which is tied to being paralyzed with fear that eventually, I was so worn out, that I came to a complete calm due to being physically, emotionally exhausted that I had nothing left to release. I honestly came to the resolve that this is where my life would end. I can still see the small sunbeam of light and the dust flying up and down from within from what I thought would become my tomb. All of a sudden, I began to hear faint voices becoming ever more clear as the seconds went by. I immediately found the strength once more to begin screaming to “let me out”, “help”! All of a sudden, the door swung open and there was my older brother and sister of the cousin standing outside. I was free!…I was alive!…I was going to live! For I was not aware that earlier that morning, my older brother and cousin had planned on going fishing and had set a can of worms on top of that freezer and they had showed up to retrieve them. I’m so thankful for their planned event for I believe surely, that I would not be writing this to you now had I stayed in there not much longer. Quite honestly my friend, I believe God had already orchestrated this “divine appointment fishing trip” in advance knowing what I was about to get myself into. Thank God for these divine appointments which occur in our lives unknowingly (and for an older brother and cousin who liked to fish!).
We’ve all had our own personal encounters with facing fear in our lives. Maybe not as intense as what I’ve described to you above but situations where the spirit of fear had paralyzed us momentarily or perhaps even to this very day in your own life. I’ve heard more people recently comment about how “scary” it is in our world today regarding their safety, the economy, their jobs..I could go on. Fear always has a tendency to be attached to the unknown. Situations that are beyond our control. Did you also know that there are over five hundred known phobias (a persistent irrational fear that causes a person to feel extreme anxiety) known to man. Please do not misunderstand me friend, I’m certainly not making light of this condition, for I realize that many suffer from the tight grip of fear on a daily basis. My heart’s desire is to see the captives set free and unleashed from this enemy’s stronghold within their lives.
The Bible mentions two specific types of fear. The first type is beneficial and is to be encouraged. The second type is a detriment and is to be overcome. There is the “fear” of the Lord. Now this type of fear does not necessarily mean to be afraid of something. Rather, it is a reverential awe of God; a reverence for His power and glory. Proverbs 19:23 reads The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm. Furthermore, the fear of the Lord leads to life, rest, peace, and contentment. It is the fountain of life as told in Proverbs 14:27 and provides a security and a place of safety for us. However, the second type of fear mentioned in the Bible is not beneficial at all. This is the “spirit of fear” mentioned in II Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”. A spirit of fearfulness does not come from God. However, sometimes we are afraid and this “spirit of fear” overcomes us, and to overcome it we need to trust in and love God completely. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” 1 John 4:18. No one is perfect, and God knows this. That is why He has liberally sprinkled encouragement against fear throughout the Bible. Beginning in the book of Genesis and continuing throughout the book of Revelation, God reminds us to “Fear not.” Isaiah 41:10 encourages us, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Often we fear the future and what will become of us. But Jesus reminds us in Mathew 10:31 that God cares for the birds of the air, so how much more will He provide for His children? “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows”.
Let me encourage you today friend that there is One who understands every fearful situation that you have gone through, are going through or will go through in this life. He wants us to one-hundred percent trust Him for each and every circumstance both known and unknown as He has promised to guide us with every step. Psalms 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;…” Once we have learned to put our trust in God, we will no longer be afraid of the things that come against us. We will be like the psalmist who said with confidence “…let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you” Psalm 5:11.
“Father God, I thank You that You have not given me the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. I thank You that in You alone I take refuge knowing full well that You will always lead me in the path of safety and deliverance. Where there is fear, I ask that You would replace it with peace, joy and love and with an overwhelming faith to trust You in every circumstance that You allow into my life from this day forth. I thank You and ask this in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen”.
For His Kingdom,