Should We Be Afraid of the Future? (Part 2)
In the previous Q&A, we discussed one of the greatest fears which we could have—the fear of man—the fearful concern what man may think about us or do to us. But there are of course many other fears which we might encounter, and the Bible refers to some of them in numerous places.
No matter what situation we might find ourselves in, and what circumstance might tempt us to become afraid, God shows us the way out. This Q&A will begin to address the way of escape from fear.
When they were facing or finding themselves in an extremely difficult situation, God’s servants have turned to God for help, peace, security and salvation.
While in distress, David prayed in Psalm 4:3:
“But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him.”
This is a vital key when we are in the midst of uncertainty—the conviction and persuasion that God hears us when we call on Him. This fact is beautifully reconfirmed in Psalm 107:23-32, coupled with the responsibility of those who have prayed to God and then been helped by Him to thank Him for His intervention:
“Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters, They see the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!”
We find the same teaching and admonition in Psalm 118:1, 5-6, 8-9:
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever… I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?… It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.”
Our ultimate help can only come from God. With that conviction, we need not fear men, nor place our confidence in man as if our help were to come from them, and not from God. But knowing this, we are to thank God for and not forget His intervention.
Solomon made even this remarkable statement in Proverbs 10:3:
“The LORD will not allow the righteous soul to famish…”
This presupposes and necessitates much confidence in God’s presence. And so, God’s servants knew—and had to remind themselves continuously and constantly—that they were not alone and that God knew their anxieties and fears and that He would stand by them and protect them and help them.
David states in Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14:
“…The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh, My enemies and foes, They stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war should rise against me, In this I will be confident… I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”
Here is another key in our fight against anxiety and fear: Waiting on God’s help and intervention while being convinced that He WILL help. Oftentimes, we want God’s action right there and then, but great strength and faith might develop in patience.
Knowing this, David advises us in Psalm 32:6-7:
“For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble…”
Again, he writes in Psalm 23:4:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
He was still walking through the valley of the shadow of death. God did not spare him from that. But He spared him from fear and despair, because David knew that God was with him.
The sons of Korah who due to their faithfulness did not have to suffer their father’s fate of extinction because of his rebellion, stated this in Psalm 46:1-3,7:
“… God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah… The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”
It is important that we remind ourselves in times of anxiety, fear and despair that the great and mighty God is with us. It is so easy, while being in the heat of fire, to forget this all-important fact.
In Psalm 49:5, 15, the sons of Korah wrote this:
“Why should I fear in the days of evil, When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?… God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah.”
When God has the power to resurrect us from the dead, then He has most certainly the power to help us in difficult situations in this life. In times of trials, we might forget easily how powerful He is, but it is important to always remember that so that fear of the future does not consume us.
David wrote in Psalm 31:19-24:
“Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion From the strife of tongues… You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried out to You… Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.”
David made it a point to conscientiously remind himself of God’s great and ongoing involvement in his life, so that he could be of good courage and conquer all fear. He wrote in Psalm 56:3-4, 8:
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You… In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?… You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?”
David also said in Psalm 31:15: “My times are in Your hand.” He knew that nothing could happen to him unless God were to allow it—including his “good” times and “bad” times, as well as the time of his life and the time of his death—and that God would only allow or do in his life what would be best for him. Paul would later say that all things work together for good to those who love God and do His commandments. We read in Psalm 112 that the righteous who “delights greatly in His commandments” (verse 1) “will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established; He will not be afraid” (verses 7-8).
This same thought is expressed in Proverbs 3:25-26 for those who keep His law and apply His wisdom and understanding:
“Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.”
This sentiment is echoed in Jeremiah 17:7-8, as follows:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
While in distress and when facing persecution from evil men, we must not cease from yielding fruit; we must not cease from living a righteous life.
Isaiah 8:12-13 tells us not to be afraid of the threats of men, but rather to have fear and respect for God. In Isaiah 35:4, God adds this thought:
“Say to those who are fearful-hearted, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.’”
This is the confidence we must always have: That God is on His throne; that He knows what is happening in our lives; that He sees the injustice and persecution which evil and wicked people are trying to inflict on us; and that He, in His due time, WILL intervene to save us and to deal powerfully with our enemies. And that in the meantime, He will not allow that anything happens to us which would be too difficult for us to bear.
God reinforces this marvelous truth throughout the pages of the Bible, which reads like this: We don’t need to fear because God is with us. God will give us His protection, security, help and safety.
Isaiah 41:10-14 quotes God’s words to us as follows:
“‘Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them—Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing. For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,’ says the LORD And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
The same promise is reiterated to us in Isaiah 43:2, 5, 15-16:
“‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you… Fear not, for I am with you… I am the LORD, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.’ Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea And a path through the mighty waters…”
God is with us. He is our mighty King—the RULER over the entire universe. Even if He allows us to go through fire which could burn us and water which could drown us, He is with us and will not allow that they harm or kill us before the God-decreed time of our death. And He might create the way of escape in a surprising and totally unexpected fashion—by showing us a path in and through the roaring sea and the mighty overflowing waters. To allow in our minds the possibility of such powerful godly intervention requires much faith on our part—which we will discuss in the next installment.
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link