God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control.
(2 Timothy 1:7, NCV)
Friend to Friend
We all battle fear. Fear constantly tries to elbow faith aside, hoping to derail God’s plan and purpose in our lives. Fear keeps many of us from dreaming God-sized dreams, persuading us to settle for safety and comfort instead of riding the waves of possibilities. When faith yanks our hideous fears out of the darkness and into the light, we can see them for what they really are – powerless.
Faith is a three-letter word.
Faith says “yes” to peace and “no” to fear.
It may be one tiny step or one puny choice.
It may be a whispered prayer or a desperate cry.
But God always honors the choice to walk straight ahead through fear. Fear trains us to anticipate the worst while faith teaches us to expect the best – even when that “best” looks a lot different than we thought it would.
I have always hated wearing glasses. They get lost, slide down my nose, are always dirty, constantly have to be adjusted, and are a major nuisance. During a routine eye exam, I informed the doctor that I needed contacts instead of glasses. He did not look hopeful.
“Mary, you have a couple of problems that might make contacts difficult for you to wear.” Since I didn’t hear the word “impossible,” I still wanted those contacts.
The doctor continued, “You not only have astigmatism, but your vision needs to be corrected for both distance and close vision.” I am a little slow, I guess. So … why would contacts be a problem?
Seeing the confusion on my face, he explained that I would have to wear a contact in my left eye that allowed me to see up close and a different strength contact in the right eye for distance.
“We would essentially be tricking the brain and going against the way it was created,” he said. “Your brain will be confused for several months. You will step off curbs that are not there or reach for something only to knock it over. At first, you will only be able to read for short periods because your eyes will be at war over which one gets to do the job. When your brain is finally retrained, the confusion will fade, and your vision will improve greatly.” I assured the doctor that both my brain and I were up for the task.
I got my contacts. The first few months were just as frustrating as the doctor said they would be. But the confusion did fade … and I was eventually thrilled with my improved vision and retrained brain.
The apostle Paul understood that training the mind is not only a physical possibility, but also a vital spiritual principle when fear attacks.
We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, ICB).
In their darkest hour, waves crashing around them, trapped on a small fishing boat, the disciples were terrified. In fact, their fear blinded them to the reality of Jesus coming to them in the midst of that storm. I love the simple but powerful response of Jesus to their fearful cries when He said, “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”
The message was stunning in its simplicity. When He is with us, we do not have to be afraid. We usually get that part. But what Jesus also said was that His very presence brought courage into the mix – an audacious choice to discount the fearful circumstances simply because He was there.
Jesus did not rebuke His disciples in their fear.
He didn’t turn away from them because their faith was weak.
I probably would have. After all, they had seen Jesus perform miracles.
Water turned into wine.
Thousands fed with five loaves of bread and two small fish.
Men, women, and children healed.
And still they were afraid. Still they doubted. I can relate, can’t you?
Jesus “quickly” assured them of His comforting presence and His available power. Evidently, Peter was the only one who really believed Jesus. How do I know? True faith generates action. Peter was the only one willing to get out of the boat and walk through his fear. I am fairly certain Peter was just as terrified as the other disciples – but Peter chose to take Jesus at His word. When he took that first step, Peter’s fear was swallowed up in faith.
Father God, I want to become a woman of faith, but I am so weak. I constantly battle fear and my faith seems so small. Please give me a new thirst for Your Word. I choose to focus on You, Father, instead of focusing on my circumstances. Help me find faith and learn to be a faith-builder each day. I now turn to You, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Now It’s Your Turn
What kind of storm are you facing? Don’t wait until you understand the storm. Don’t rely on your own strength. Choose right now to believe and see what God does.
More from the Girlfriends
What a journey we are on – a journey to the heart of God! Let’s make that journey together, friend. We are here to encourage you and to help strengthen your faith. We are your sisters, your girlfriends in God and we would love to hear from you.
Need help? Check out Mary’s E-Book Bible Study, Getting a Grip on Fear and discover the peace of God – even in your most chaotic moments.
Need prayer? Our prayer team is committed to praying for you. Email your requests to our prayer team director, Ginger Meador, at firstname.lastname@example.org