What are you afraid of? Today, if you were to make a list of your top fears what would they be?
- Mine would look like this:
- Husband’s upcoming trips for work
- Projects at work piling up
- Children’s health in this crazy flu season
- Family relationships
I bet if you were to list your fears they might be similar.
Some days these fears just hover in the back of our minds. They might not be taking over our thoughts, but they’re there constantly picking at us.
On other days, these fears bully their way to the front of the line and cower us. They send us running for cover and take over our day.
As I was being bullied by my fears this past week, God reminded me of Isaiah 41:10 on three different days in three different ways. Don’t you just love when he does that? It says,
So do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
If you have a moment, I would even encourage you to read all of Isaiah 41. In that chapter, Isaiah addressing the the people of Judah, and they are scared! Their enemies are a constant threat, and Judah doesn’t know where to turn. In the past they have turned to idols, but now God is calling them to himself.
This chapter has three distinct parts that teach us how to address our fears.
First, we’re reminded to not trust in idols. To leave behind those things we place before God. Looking down at the calendar at my next few weeks, I could lose hope. There is a lot of overwhelming items there if I look at what’s in my hands. But when I instead turn away from what I can see and place my hope in God, I’m reminded of how he’s been victorious in the past, and it gives me hope for how he’ll come through in the future.
Second, God reminds us of who He is. He reminds us he controls the nations, and though things may seem out of control, he is the one who guides the leaders. He also reminds Judah and us he is our Redeemer. He is the one who saves us. This reminder gives them and us hope. In the midst of our fears, we can know the all-powerful God is the one who is with us.
Last, he tells us our ability to not fear is based on God alone. He doesn’t tell us the circumstances aren’t scary. Many times they are. He doesn’t tell us we’re big enough to handle the situation. Often we’re not. In this chapter, he tells us the reason we need to not fear is because He is with us, and He will help us.
In verses 17-20, Isaiah paints a hopeless picture: the needy searching for water and finding none, and a barren desert with nothing growing. In both cases, God’s presence brings hope. Water flows in abundance and the people’s thirst is quenched, and the barren desert becomes full of trees and beauty.
In our lives, God’s presence can bring hope, too. When we remember who he is and he’s the one who’s fighting for us, then we can have hope even in the scariest of circumstances, even when everything looks dark.
Today, think about where are you placing your trust? Then remind yourself of who God is. Make a list of what he’s done for you in the past. Then turn to books like Job and Psalms where we’re reminded of how awesome and powerful our God is. Then list your fears. Confess them to him and ask him to work in those situations. Give them to Him.
When I’m afraid and find it hard to release my fears to God, I have a prayer box. In it I have listed Isaiah 41:10 and other “fear not” verses like Psalms 33:20-22, 34:4, and Jeremiah 29:11. They remind me where to put my trust. I also have a little commitment written out inside the lid that says:
Everything, every worry, stress, and fear I put in this box is to be forgotten and left in God’s hands. This is to remind me he is in control. I’m not. And he always has my best in mind.
After I place my prayers in this box, I have a tangible way to remind myself throughout the day where I have put my trust. Anytime I feel myself worrying again, I remember I left those fears and worries in God’s hands, and I can relax knowing he’s in control.
If you don’t have a prayer box or another place to record your prayers, find one today. Give yourself a way to physically place your fears, anxieties, and stress in his hands. It doesn’t matter what you choose a box, notebook, or a paper on the wall, what matters is reminding yourself to not to fear because God is with you, and He’s in control.
God, you are our Redeemer. You’re the great God who created the world and set the planets in motion. You created light out of the darkness, and I know you can shine your light into the dark corners of our hearts where fear dwells. Please help us today to let go of those idols we trust in over you. Help us to remember who you are and to release our fears to you. Not because we are awesome but because you are. Thank you for your presence in our lives that gives us hope. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Sometimes when we’re struggling, it helps to hear someone else’s story who has walked through their fears with God to be reminded he is right there with us. A few years ago Sandi Schwab shared this God Story with us. Her story of heartbreak and God’s presence through it all brought me such hope in my dark times. I hope it brings you hope as well. Find her God Story here.
Another resource for you is our Mom’s Resource page. There you will find a variety of resources to help you connect to God, fight fear, and find hope.