Wendy Clark © 2020
Fear and Hope. Though sometimes it seems like they sneak up and overtake us, we have a lot more control over fear and hope than we often realize.
I can drive out fear by looking forward in hope, and I can squeeze out hope by feeding present fear. In any moment of my life I can shift my focus and perspective and change my whole attitude about my current situation from one of fear or discouragement or despair, to one of hope.
So simple, but not so easy. The shift takes focus, intention, effort, and often practice and repetition.
Examining my fear or my discouragement can be a big help in shifting to hope because both fear and hope are intricately interwoven with trust and faith.
For example, if I am fearful about my finances, I can take a look at what I am trusting to keep my finances in order and consider how trustworthy that source is. Am I trusting my own ability to work and earn and save and make good decisions? Am I trusting a bank or financial institution to manage my money well and give me a reliable check each month? Am I trusting the government to be generous and reliable and faithful in providing for my needs? How reliable are each of these sources?
I can avoid a certain amount of fear by shifting the source of my trust to something or someone more stable and trustworthy. I might divide my assets and look for my fiances to come from a variety of sources. I might come up with strategies and make plans that help me to manage the money that I have better. These are not bad ideas.
But in the end, I will stop being fearful about my finances when I come to understand that God is the source of all provision for me. God is the one who gives me the ability to make wealth and blesses the work of my hands. God, in His Word, gives me principles of truth that I can apply to my finances. God promises that if I walk with Him and trust Him for provision, He is faithful to lead me and guide me and trustworthy to provide generously for all that I need.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart ,and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will lead you on the straight path.”
“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.”
The Bible says that the fear of the LORD is a wise kind of fear because we recognize who is really in charge and who is really the One powerful enough to handle all of our concerns with faithfulness, love, compassion . . . holiness.
And God is trustworthy not just with my fiances. The same is true for all areas of fear in my life. I can examine the fear and what it tells me about where my trust is and where I am putting my hope.
Am I afraid for my safety or the safety of those I love? Who or what am I trusting to keep us all safe? Am I afraid of failure? Who or what am I relying on to determine whether I fail or succeed? Am I fearful about my future? Who or what am I trusting to make a way for me?
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
We all have the power to drive out fear and live in hope and peace. That power lies in the choices we make about where we will put our trust.
There are 365 verses in the Bible that say “Fear Not,” one for each day of the year.
One good step toward overcoming fear, anxiety, worry is to take one verse each day and read the context of the passage. If there is a story, read the whole story. Sometimes, you might find yourself reading the same story a few days in a row because God tells the same person to not be afraid several different times. What does that repetition tell us about God? About the person or people God is speaking to? What are the promises associated with not being afraid?
Genesis 15:1; 21:17; 26:24; 35:17; 43:23; 46:3; 50:19. 21
Exodus 14:13; 20:20
Numbers 6:24-26; 14:9; 21:34
Deuteronomy 1:17, 21, 29; 3:2, 22; 7:18; 20:1, 3; 20:3; 31:6, 8
Joshua 1:9; 8:1; 10:8, 25; 11:6
Judges 4:18; 6:23
I Samuel 4:20; 12:20; 22:23; 23:17; 28:13
II Samuel 9:7
I Kings 17:13
II Kings 1:15; 6:16; 19:6; 25:24
I Chronicles 22:13; 28:20
II Chronicles 20:15; 20:17; 32:7
Job 5:21; 11:15; 21:9 .
Psalm 3:6; 4:8; 16:7-9; 23:4; 27:1, 3; 29:11; 46:2; 49:16; 56: 3-4, 11; 78:53; 91:5; 94:19; 118:6; 119:165
Isaiah 7:4; 8:12; 10:24; 12:2; 17:2; 26:3; 35:4; 37:6; 40:9; 41:10, 13-14; 43:1, 5; 44:2, 8; 51:7; 54:4, 14
Jeremiah 1:8; 10:5; 17:8; 30:10; 40:9; 42:11; 46:27-28; 51:46
Daniel 10:12, 19
Zechariah 8:13, 15
Matthew 1:20: 6:25-34; 10:19, 26, 28, 31; 14:27; 17:7; 28:5, 10, 36
Mark 5:36; 6:50; 13:11
Luke 1:13, 30; 2:10; 5:10; 8:50; 12:4, 7, 11, 32
John 6:20; 12:15; 14:27; 16:33
Acts 18:9; 20:10; 27:24
I Peter 3:6, 14; 5:7
1 John 4:18
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”