“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 56:3
It is the eve of an anticipated and yet, dreaded event in our family. Tomorrow something will take place that has been talked about, planned for, prepared for, and prayed about for many months. Tomorrow morning at 6:00 our youngest grandchild, Evangeline Currin, will undergo open heart surgery, and a part of me is terrified at the very thought. But, I keep disciplining myself to think about what the Bible has to say about fear and worry. The Scripture speaks of fear a lot. In fact, we are told 366 times not to fear. That is a “fear not” for every day of the year, including leap year! The Lord knows our frailty. He knows that we are prone to fear, and so over and over again our Father tells us not to be afraid. But, He didn’t just command us not to fear, He lovingly reminds us of why we have no need to be frightened. God told the “Father of many nations”, “Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” (Gen. 15:1) Abraham, the patriarch had no need to fear because the Lord was his strength and his greatest treasure.
God commanded the great military leader, Joshua, “…do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) And then, God spoke to the prophet, Isaiah, concerning His people, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine.” (Is. 43:1) It encourages me to know that I am not alone in my battle against anxiety. Even patriarchs, warriors, and prophets had to be reminded to “fear not”. And even more heartening than that is the reason they didn’t have to be frightened. It wasn’t because there weren’t legitimate things to be afraid of.
These men faced actual battles against real enemies, and that wasn’t going to magically disappear. They were not told to reject fear because of their great strengths and capabilities. They did not have to fear because there is a God, and He was their God, and He was never going to leave them. And that wasn’t only true for them; it is true for me, and also for every genuine child of God. He is my God, and He is never going to leave me, and because of that I do not have to be afraid regardless of what tomorrow holds. That means my problems don’t have to disappear. Apart from a divine intervention, my precious granddaughter is going to undergo a very serious and dangerous surgery in just about six hours from now. It also means that I don’t have to have any great strength of my own. And that’s very good news, because I don’t. All I have to do is simply trust that my Father holds that little baby in His strong arms. He is overseeing every detail, and as John Piper says, “God is always doing 10,000 things that we can’t see.”
Trust… that is the key. The root of fear and anxiety is unbelief, so the remedy is the opposite of unbelief, which is trust, or simply put, faith.
George Mueller, the director of the Ashley Down orphanages in Bristol, England, in the mid to late 1800’s cared for over 10,000 orphans and recorded over 85,000 answers to prayer. He once said, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith. The beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” You see, fear and faith simply cannot coexist together.
Philippians 4:6-7 gives us some very practical instruction, as well as, a beautiful promise, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
So, tonight before I pillow my head, this is what I am choosing to do. With a heart full of thanksgiving for this dear little life, for her parents, for the medical team that will be taking care of her, for such wonderful technology, for the privilege to be here, and most of all for the One who has promised to never leave us or forsake us, I have laid my requests before Him. And I will leave it there as I say with the Psalmist, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”
– Cindy Currin