Stacy Reaoch | Category: The Christian Life
This past fall my husband had the privilege of going to Turkey to speak at a conference for Christian workers. Although I was excited for his opportunity, I was also feeling somewhat hesitant with the terrorist activity in nearby Syria. Thanks to modern technology, we planned to FaceTime every day to keep in close touch with each other.
One day during that week, our appointed time to connect went by with no contact from my husband. Maybe he’s just running late, I reasoned. I looked for text messages . . . negative. I checked to make sure my ringer was turned up loud enough . . . affirmative. Maybe he’s deep in conversation with someone. . . . But as the minutes turned into hours, fear began to seize me. Unfortunately I learned of terrorists near the Turkey border as I began watching world news reports.
As fear began to consume me, every worst possible situation was played out in my head. Had terrorists overcome the conference and taken captives? What would I do? My mind went through multiple scenarios: explaining to our children what had happened, looking for a job to support our family, and wondering whether to sell the house. By the time my husband was finally able to call I had already decided where to move and how much to sell the house for. Come to find out, he was just fine.
Fear Feeds Irrationality
When fear seizes you, all our ability to think rationally evaporates. Life becomes overwhelming and the promises of God are thrown out the window. When Moses sent the spies into Canaan to gather information for the people of Israel, fear of the looming giants became much more visible than any of the blessings Canaan had to offer. Although they obediently gathered fruit from the land, their report focused on all the seemingly impossible obstacles they faced.
“We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there” (Numbers 13:27–28). As the spies exaggerated and gave the worse report possible, they compared themselves to grasshoppers and claimed the land would devour them (Numbers 13:32–33).
This fearful exaggeration infected the Israelites who succumbed to crying and grumbling against Moses and Aaron, and it even led them to claim they wish they’d died in the wilderness (Numbers 14:2–3)!
It seems Israel forgot God’s promise to give them the land of Canaan, despite the obstacles that looked so intimidating. “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel” (Numbers 13:2). If the Israelites had truly trusted God’s promise, even their enemies in Canaan shouldn’t have been a threat to them. God was going to give Israel the Promised Land, just as he’d said to Abraham hundreds of years before. And during our moments of fear and panic, God is whispering promises to us too.
Fighting Off Fear
When fear begins to creep in and all the “what-if” situations begin to consume your mind, here are seven things to remember:
So when your child is diagnosed with cancer, or you just learned of a loved one in a car accident, or your husband comes home with news that he was let go from his job, prepare yourself for battle. Don’t allow the enemy of fear to seize you and take you captive. Fight him off with the promises of God’s word and his unchanging character.
This post originally appeared on the Desiring God blog on April 21, 2015.
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