Turning Fear into Faith

There are two kinds of worry: (1) a negative, harmful, crippling worry, and (2) a positive,

beneficial concern. Negative worry is an anxiety that focuses our thoughts either on concerns

that we can do nothing about or on matters that distract us from resting in God’s ability to meet

our needs. Jesus mentioned such worry six times in His Sermon on the Mount. He taught His

followers to turn to their Father in heaven, who wants us to trust Him one day at a time, even for

the most common cares of life (Matthew 6:25–34).

However, not all worry is bad. The Bible also speaks of a healthy concern that results in

meaningful action and prayer. In 2 Corinthians 11:28, Paul spoke of his “deep concern for all

the churches.” The word concern is the same Greek word he and other New Testament writers

used when urging against self-consuming anxiety (Philippians 4:6; 1 peter 5:7).


When we worry, we focus on possibilities that have not yet happened or are beyond our control.

What we need to see is that this is our moment of opportunity. In the weakness of our fears, we

have reason to look for the assurance of God’s presence. This assurance comes when we turn our

attention to God’s character as revealed in His Word. Nothing happens in this world that is

beyond the knowledge and power of our God. The Scriptures declare, “The Lord has established

His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). He is God Almighty.

He is the sovereign Lord of all.


When we worry, we are actually acknowledging the truth that we are not adequate to meet the

demands of life in our own strength. This is our moment to remind ourselves of some important

truths about God:

  1. He is everywhere. There is no place, no matter how alone we may feel, that God cannot be. He is everywhere! (Psalm 139:7–12; Jeremiah 23:23–24).

  2. He knows everything. He knows how afraid we are, how bad we feel, and what scares us. The more worried we become, the more we act as if God were ignorant of our situation. We don’t know the future, but God does; and He knows our needs (Job 7:20; Psalm 33:13­–14).

  3. He is all-powerful. Worriers feel that no one has the power to stop bad things from happening—not even God. But God has limitless power and His own wise reasons for what He permits (Genesis 17:1; 18:14; Matthew 19:26).

The cares of life that weigh on us so heavily need to be placed on the shoulders of the Lord. He

is even more concerned than we are about our health, our work, our friends, our family, and our

nation.


But how do we give our burdens to God? The answer to that is not in what we do, but in what

we believe. Are we trusting in our feelings? Or do we believe, on the basis of what we see in the

created world around us and on the wisdom of the Bible, that our creator and sustainer is an all-

powerful, trustworthy God?


Perhaps our fears are rooted in past experiences or medical conditions beyond our ability to

understand or control? The answer does not contradict our faith. If in the process of coming to

terms with our fears, we sense a need for medical help or a wise counselor, this may be God’s

way of helping us trust Him in new and deeper ways.


David knew God’s goodness and love by experience. That’s why he could write that even in the

darkest valleys of life; he feared no evil (Psalm 23:4).


Even as he wrote of war, famine, and evil men who pursued him, David said that those who trust

in God “shall be satisfied” (Psalm 37:19). The basic meaning is that they will not tremble or be

shaken. In the midst of the legitimate concerns of life, we need not quiver with fear. God will

sustain us by His power.


When we feel vulnerable, we become distracted by our concerns. God can sustain us during

those worrisome times, not by promising that nothing bad will happen, but by reminding us that

we were made to trust Him above all else. In a broken world, we have no guarantees except that

God can be trusted, and that He wants us to draw on the depths of His love and grace in every

circumstance that He gives or allows. We too can use worry as an opportunity to say, “Therefore

we will not fear” (Psalm 46:2).


The underlying cause of worry is identified in Jesus’ statement, “O you of little faith” (Matthew

6:30). With those few words, He reminds us that being burdened down with care can reflect a

lack of trust in Him. Too often we don’t really believe that He is present, knows what we need,

and wants to shoulder the burdens of our life. On far too many occasions, we stop short of

trusting Him to care for our needs—even though He promised that He would. Our eyes shift

from heaven to earth and from the strength of God to our own limited resources.


When we listen to Jesus, in faith, we will come to realize that getting a handle on our worries

requires our choice and God’s grace. Our worries are eased by a deep confidence in God. Even

though concerns remain, the obsessive, anxious, desperate feelings are undermined by a real faith

and hope in the Lord.

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