God’s Simple Strategy for Managing Fear
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
What frightens you? Besides zombies, werewolves, and vampires, what keeps you awake at night?
I read an article recently that indicates the anxiety level is way up in our country due to worries over politics, terror threats, and the rise of foreign enemies with nukes.
To be sure, those things are frightening. I suspect 24 hour hyped and sensationalized news has a lot to do with that angst.
Here’s a side note based on a recent observation. Consider how many news reports include words and phrases like: if, may possibly, according to high level anonymous sources, etc. In other words, they’re only guessing or attempting to build a false narrative. Salacious news and headlines sell! For example: “According to high level anonymous sources Richard Weirich may have awakened in the middle of the night and eaten a half gallon of Bluebell Rocky Road ice cream.”
The point here, stick to real threats based on real facts. Makes for a lot less worry.
A burglar breaks into your house and steals your valuables. Your house catches on fire. An eighteen wheeler runs you off the road. Someone follows you home late at night. A masked man jumps out of the bushes and attacks you on a dimly lit street. Now, those things are legitimately frightening.
But there are more enduring fears than those things that go bump in the night. That agonizing pain in your abdomen that won’t subside. You naturally fear the worst. Your doctor runs a battery of tests and your suspicions are proven right. Then comes the treatments phase, many of which are nearly as frightening as the disease. Through it all, you are frightened by an uncertain outcome.
Of course, health fears aren’t limited to self. It can be equally troubling when a loved one’s health is in jeopardy.
I said all this to get you thinking about things that cause fear because help is available in such times. Our focus text is brief, but it powerfully addresses our most prudent response to fear.
The psalmist gives us both a strategy and a vow. He begins with the word “When…” When such-and-such happens this is what I will do.
Special Forces troops train for every eventuality. They learn strategies for facing frightening situations. Instead of focusing on the cause of fear, they focus on their training.
Long ago, when my life was considerably more chaotic than it is now, I learned to develop and internalize strategies for handling problems and difficult people. I made a short list of personal affirmations and godly responses to unfortunate circumstances.
That’s what the psalm writer was doing here. “When I am afraid…” At that moment, when I feel that sense of dread come over me from some problem, threat, or bad news — this is what I will do. “I put my trust in you.”
God gave us fear as a healthy response to danger. He also gave us a strategy for dealing with the emotion. Trust Him.
Ten years ago, I was hit with a painful gall bladder attack that required surgery. Soon after, I received a letter from the hospital informing me that my x-rays revealed a suspicious lump that needed to be checked out. Upon further testing, I was told it wasn’t cancerous, but I should get a second opinion. That’s when I visited one of Birmingham’s top cancer specialists. His tests resulted in a different report and a frightening diagnosis.
In my heart of hearts, I knew God had everything under control. I could trust Him completely. Instead of focusing on the cause of my anxiety, I kept my eyes on the author and finisher of my faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
Make this promise to yourself, and then to God. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Put another way, choose faith over fear.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Walking the High Wire of Faith
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.