Whether or not we want to openly acknowledge it, I believe it’s true that most every one of us deal with some sort of inadequacy or past experience that cause us to have fear in different situations.
This fear is not the kind of “horror” that people may fall into when being physically attacked or in some sort of open conflict. No, this is not fear of bodily harm as much as it is fear of not being good enough, not being accomplished enough, not trusting enough, and not being loved enough.
I’ve been talking with a couple of friends over the past several months who are seeking a job/career change in their lives. They know that this is something they want to do, but for quite a few months now neither one of them have seen any doors open. Opportunities and even interviews come and go and yet no one comes back beyond a second interview to make an offer or even give feedback as to what might be needed for the change to occur.
This kind of fear can be paralyzing. It can cause one to believe that somehow they may be stuck in a situation that they find unsatisfying and certainly far from what they dreamed their lives might be about.
The same kind of fear comes upon people who have had relational difficulties and find themselves at a time in their life when they never thought they would be “living alone.” There’s no shame to that situation, but there is fear that perhaps this may be their permanent state and that’s not something that they see as a blessing.
I have my own illustrations but I wanted to share some encouragement from King David in Psalm 34. David begins:
“Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me!
My lips are full of perpetual praise.” Psalm 34:1 (TPT)
“Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress
and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears!
Gaze upon him, join your life with his, and joy will come.
Your faces will glisten with glory.
You’ll never wear that shame-face again.
When I had nothing, desperate and defeated,
I cried out to the Lord and he heard me,
bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most.
The angel of the Lord stooped down to listen as I prayed,
encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape.
He will do this for everyone who fears God.” Psalm 34:4-7 (TPT)
There are many more verses in Psalm 34. You really must read it to get the full impact of how David experienced the power of God to deliver him from his fears. What really affected me as I read this over and over again is that David did not concentrate on those things that were causing him fear. He didn’t think about them over and over again and try to find a way to help himself out of those circumstances.
Rather, David talks about the emergence of the presence and power of God as he focused his whole heart on who God is. He says it best in verse 17:
“Yet when holy lovers of God cry out
to him with all their hearts,
the Lord will hear them and come to rescue them
from all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17 (TPT)
“Even when bad things happen to the good and godly ones,
the Lord will save them and not let them be defeated
by what they face.” Psalm 34:19 (TPT)
The revelation of these verses has reminded me of the need to do more than just have my “Bible reading” every day or to go through my prayer list in some perfunctory manner. Rather, there’s a profound level of relationship which David models for us and calls us into with the Lord Himself.
If we’re all really honest with ourselves, many of us know that getting to that place with God where we know that we are pleasing to Him and encountering Him and loving Him for who He is and not what we can get from Him, often takes more focus and investment than we are willing to give.
I read yesterday of one of the fathers of the faith movement of the last century who was a pastor and would hear from the Lord that it was time for him to seek God “earnestly.” He told His wife he would be going over to the church and was not to be disturbed unless it was an emergency. There were times, he said, when “I would pray for several days and not leave the church.”
I know there may not be any of us who could imagine doing something like that. However, it did make me ask the question ‘just how desperate am I to hear from God?”
And so if you’re dealing with fear, the way to find freedom from your fears is to focus on the face of God and read His Word about His love for you, His promises for your circumstances and situation and most of all, the glory that is due His name for all He has already provided for you and me and all who call upon His name.
Becoming free from fear,