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When You Are Afraid

By Barbara Rainey

When was the last time you were afraid? Was it yesterday or the day before? Maybe you have even felt fear today in one of its cousin forms: anxiety, stress, anger, nervousness, or hyper-vigilance to name a few

When we feel out of control, we are afraid. 

Sounds at night produce panic or wakefulness, i.e. fears. 

Waiting on answers or a phone call from a doctor generates anxiety. 

New teachers, new jobs, new living situations bring nervousness, stress, and more fears. 

I believe we live most of our everyday lives in the shadow of fear. Adam and Eve’s first reported response to God’s presence after they sinned was fear. When they heard God come close, they ran and hid: “the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees …” (Genesis 3:8). 

Humans are conflicted. We want the reassurance of God’s presence, but we fear His nearness knowing He will see our multiplied weaknesses and inadequacies … our naked shame.

We simply cannot imagine a fearless life. And God knows that about us. Because He loves us, He reassures us: “Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you” (Isaiah 41:10). 

Almost daily since his birth 18 months ago, my daughter has played music for her toddler. One song, accompanied by the happy voices of children loudly declares Isaiah 43:1, “Fear not, for I will be with you I’ve called you by name you are Mi … i … ine.” Repeat. 

This catchy tune is recorded in my memory and I am glad. Numerous times in the last 18 months, especially during my mom’s death in February, the pandemic this spring and then the death of George Floyd and the fearful days of the riots, God has brought the song to mind for I have needed to “fear not,” to remember the greater truth that He is with me and I am His. You can listen to this song here.

Another favorite verse is Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” Fear happens, and when I feel it I have a choice. Trust God or something or someone else. 

I can choose to trust Him because He is right there with me. Always. Every day. Every minute of this day. His promised presence is enough for me.

God’s strength is enough for us to face any fear if we turn to Him. 

If you haven’t, memorize Psalm 56:3. It’s short and easy. Write it on a card for your pocket, wallet or dashboard of your car. 

We need to remember the truth of God’s with-us presence daily.

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