The world today is filled with fears of all kinds. Some people are actually so overtaken by their fears that they dare not venture outside their homes. They become recluses, terrified of what lies just beyond the threshold of their doorway. That is the final extreme, but there are also thousands of other fears that people contend with. Some people are afraid of confined spaces, other people are afraid of open spaces. Some are afraid of being in crowds, others are afraid of being alone. Some people are afraid of being asked to speak in public ... most of my preacher friends are afraid of NOT being asked to speak in public! Regularly I read or hear of some new phobia I haven't heard of before. And I think to myself, "Are people really afraid of that? Why? What is there to be afraid of?"
But I know that I'm not immune either – my own fears probably sound perfectly irrational to others.
Listen to these words of King David: “I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
You and I need to establish it within our hearts that it is not the will of God that any of his children be held in bondage to any fear. Fears must not be allowed to control us.
In his famous book “Tortured for Christ”, Richard Wurmbrand told a story of one particular low point during the years that he was in prison for his faith. He recalls hearing the sound of boots marching down the hallway outside his cell, and how his heart was momentarily gripped with paralyzing fear. When those guards came into the cells, often it was to beat the prisoners.
Wurmbrand cried out to God; he complained that he just couldn’t take it anymore. Suddenly, he said, he sensed God speak to his heart a strange question. “What day is it?” Wurmbrand had to think for a moment, and then he realized that it was February 29th, and all of a sudden all his fear melted away and he was filled with joy.
The reason his fear left him was because he remembered that there are 366 times in the Bible when God says “Do not fear”. That’s once for every day of the year – even in a leap year! And Wurmbrand realized that it was February 29th; the day that only exists in a leap year. It was as if God was saying to him “EVEN TODAY I’m telling you not to be afraid. I’m with you.”
There are many occasions in our lives when it takes more faith to go through the storm than to be delivered from it. To endure and still be praising and believing God. To say, "Yes it's a terrible storm. But let the winds blow, let the storm rage, let the waves crash, let all of hell do its worst. If Christ is on board, I cannot sink!"
And here's the most important point: even in the worst of circumstances, you might not be delivered immediately. You may have to go through it. But you can be delivered from the fear of it. God doesn't want us held in bondage to any fear.
Let me suggest a simple prescription. 2 simple things to do in order to be delivered from fear:
1. The Basic Secret is to Seek The Lord
This is the answer we find in that verse I pointed out in Psalm 34. David says: "I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.”.
And then …
2. Face Your Fears
You’ll never conquer a fear that you have your back to because you’re running away. Didn’t you ever notice in Ephesians 6 that the armor of God has no provision to protect your back? It assumes we will always press forward. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Afraid today? My prayer as I send out this post is that you’ll seek the Lord, take courage and face those things that intimidate you head on, and that God will give you real freedom from fear.
About the Author: Phil is Pastor of a lively congregation in Brookfield, Connecticut. He is Welsh by heredity, British by birth, Australian by citizenship, and American by residency. Put all of that together and it means he's basically from the great state of “Confusion”. It’s a long story. Learn more on his blog at www.philmorgan.org and follow his momentary thoughts on Twitter. Phil is married to Alli; they have 4 kids and a spoiled Golden Retriever called Maddie.