Our sense of security has diminished in recent months related to the COVID pandemic, loss of jobs, drop in the economy, and on it goes. When we find our security diminishing, fear can grip us, even become our master.
In a recent quiet time with God, the Holy Spirit brought me to Isaiah 41:10 (AMP):
Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with my [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.
Amazingly, the commands fear not and do not be afraid occur more than any other instruction in Scripture. We find it 12 times just in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah wrote these words to the people of God who were being attacked by enemies from both the south and the north. Isaiah kept saying, Depend on God! Trust HIM! The images of destruction Isaiah described are terrifying. Yet God still said, Fear not! How does that work?
An amazing example of fear not occurs in 2 Kings 18-19. Caught in an impossible situation, King Hezekiah decided to seek God instead of make an alliance with the invading Assyrian king. These invaders were basically at Hezekiah’s back door when he went before God in the temple and asked, What do I do?
Through the prophet Isaiah, God answered, “Do not be afraid…” and gave a plan. It turned out that the Israelites didn’t even have to fight--the Angel of the Lord took out 185,000 of the Assyrian warriors (2 Kings 19:35). Not long after, the Assyrian king was slaughtered by his own sons.
Like the ancient people of God, I’m tempted to turn to the world for help and protection. Unless I focus on God, I will be profoundly disappointed. God wants to speak to us when we’re afraid, just like he spoke to Hezekiah. He’s ready to act on our behalf.
Everyone is looking for a foundation to stand on, for a future hope. As Isaiah declared, God is master over all the generations; He is the first and the last (Isaiah 41:4). Friendship with God has to become my strength; God must be my refuge.
How will I live in the fearful days going forward? I’m trying—choosing—to center on God, study the Bible, and pray more so I can discern his words to me. I’m remembering the grace he has shown to me in the past, how he’s worked in my life, and to believe that once again, God will display his grace and work; he’ll move and take care of my life.
The only sure way to fight fear and find security is to live by faith in God and his Word, and believe his future grace to us just like Hezekiah did.
Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN, is the National Director of NCF and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal for Christian Nursing. Over the past 20 months, she has had greater reasons to choose to trust God rather than give in to fear.