Fear. It’s a small, four letter word. But for a small word it’s also a word that packs a huge bang for its buck. We are afraid of many things. There’s a phobia for nearly anything these days. The number one fear among people is the fear of speaking in public, but there’s many others like heights, water, spiders, snakes, growing old, staying single, pain, failure, etc. etc. etc. You would be amazed at the amount of diagnosed phobias there are.
Fears start very early on in life. A child’s first fear might be that of the dark, or the monster under the closet or the bed. Later on it might be of not being accepted by schoolmates and things tend to snowball from there. A fearful child grows to be a fearful teenager and a fearful adult.
Fears manifest themselves in our dreams. They keep us from doing things we might otherwise do and motivate us to do things we might otherwise not do. Some can even compound themselves one on top of the other and before you know it you have a little fear that’s turned into a complete disaster. For instance, maybe you’re afraidthat you won’t hear your alarm clock in the morning and you’ll wake up late. Then, you start to think of what might happen if that actually occur. You’d end up getting to work late, then you might lose your job, not be able to pay your bills, lose your home, your family and end up living out of your car provided you don’t have a payment on that or under a bridge somewhere alone and destitute. Do you see how it works? One small fear can lead to a slightly larger one, to another and yet another and all of a sudden you’re penniless and homeless and alone! Fear can rule your life or ruin your life.
While going through a major life change recently, which included the end of a relationship, 2,000 mile trip to a new city, new job, new apartment and complete and total reestablishment of my life, I learned first hand just how important having faith in God truly is because after leaving the city that had been home to me for the past ten years, a comfortable home and dependable man, suddenly there I was. Alone. And, I was scared. I felt lost. At times, and especially at night, I would try topray and end up crying instead because I was wondering if I’d really be able to make it on my own without having to live out of my car. I had a lot on my mind. I had limited resources and bills to pay. My belongings, (most of them) were in my car. I needed to learn a new city, find a job, get an apartment, buy furniture, turn on the electricity, phone, internet… the list went on and on and on. Bottom line, I was afraid because I was thinking about all those “what ifs” and ending up with a disaster on my hands before anything had actually really even happened one way or the other.
Then late one night I was awake because I couldn’t sleep with all THAT on my mind, and I turned on the television. One of the only stations that would come through clearly was a Christian station and they were showing a program about the Exodus. While I was laying back watching and trying to keep my mind off of all that was bothering me subconsciously Moses came out of his tent to speak with the Israelites who’d come to confront him and he said to them, “Turn your fears into faith and then you will experience the true power of God.”
At that point something clicked inside my head. A light went on and I felt relief flow through my veins. It was as if Moses had just spoken to ME. And, when I thought about it, I did feel like one of the Israelites – or at the very least I could empathize with how they must have been feeling at the time. There they were, out in the wilderness not knowing what lay ahead of them. Who might come to attack them or where their next meal or drink of water might come from. They were probably even feeling very alone and abandoned by a God they could not see. They were worried. They were feeling anxious. Discouraged. Weak. Bitter. Angry. Scared. But bottom line, in the same way that I was feeling that night, they were afraid. They were probably thinking in “what ifs” too.
But when Moses said “Turn your fears into faith” it was like getting a V-8 smack to my forehead. Duh! Where WAS my faith?! Why was I so worried? I had a roof over my head and food in my stomach. I’d only been in that new city for two days and already I was imagining that I had a disaster on my hands. Sure, I prayed and I said I had faith but did I really? I felt guilty because I realized that if I truly DID have faith in God like I thought I did, I wouldn’t have been worrying in the first place. I wouldn’t have made a mountain out of a mole hill because I would have been giving thanks for what I did have and being content with what I had and placing my faith in God to provide me with what I needed when I needed it rather than worrying about the future and what it might or might not bring.
That’s when I was finally able to dry my tears and let go of my fears and just downright refuse to think about them. Like Moses had said to the Israelites, I turned my fears into faith. And I kid you not, within less than a minute how much better I felt! It was as if a huge 2,000 pound boulder had been lifted off my shoulders and I was freed! I picked up my Bible and began to read more of Exodus and then on to Deuteronomy 3:18 until I came to another part where it said, “The LORD is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged."
It was true, and I knew it in my heart. God was with me and He would not leave me or forsake me because I would never leave or forsake Him. So having been given that nourishment, I was no longer afraid or discouraged. My faith was restored and I could again feel the love, protection and guidance of our Heavenly Father because it had replaced the fears.
While the Scriptures do talk a lot about fearing God, sometimes we need to be reminded to turn some of those fears into faith. And that’s probably why that no matter what is going on in our lives, good or bad, we should always look to the Scriptures for guidance and nourishment. Often the answer to your troubles is right in front of you in black and white. And other times the answer is in a 10 second clip of a television program. It might even be on a billboard off the side of the highway. But regardless, God is always with you – you just have to open yourself up to receiving the guidance He wants to give you. And, turn your fears into faith and you will most definitely experience the true power AND LOVE of God.