through His Word
God’s plan is that we do not live in fear, but rather enjoy His peace. In fact, I’ve heard many times that there are 365 times in the Bible that we are encouraged to fear not or do not fear. This leads me to a couple of key assumptions:
- God knows that humans are frail (after all He made us from dust) and are inclined to fear.
- We need constant reassurance that everything is going to be ok.
- He loves us and desires that we live in peace, free from fear.
Go to the Giver of Peace
So where does this sweet peace come from? Bottom line, God knew we would face many situations in this fallen world that would cause us to be afraid. John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV, emphasis mine). Our peace is going to come in Him. There is no other source of lasting peace. John 14:27 (NKJV) says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
The Key is Faith
Well, at this point, I’m sure some of you are thinking, “That sounds good in theory but when I’m in the midst of a trial, I struggle to find peace.”
Remember that peace is found only in Him. The source of peace is faith—in Him. Faith is like our muscles. It has to be exercised to be strong. As you meet life’s trials and watch God’s faithfulness to you in the midst of a trial, you can look back and realize He is trustworthy. He saw you through. You may not have understood why things happened the way they did, but you can see He has brought you to a good place where your feet are once again on a rock. And your faith increases.
The trials of life were not created so He could rescue us and we would give Him praise. He may love our praise, but He doesn’t need my little bit of praise when He is surrounded by angels crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” His desire is for our peace. And peace is only going to come when we learn to trust Him. And learning comes from experience—our faith must be tested and tried so our confidence in Him increases. The more worthy He proves, the easier we move to trust. Soon, we can rest in the midst of a storm because we know He is faithful and will see us through. This is why James 1:2-4 tells us to rejoice when we experience testing or a trial of our faith—it’s going to yield patience, and we are going to be at peace while we wait for His deliverance.
Win the Battle in Your Mind
“You will keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
A friend recently told me of a book she had been reading. In summation, our mind controls our brain. If we look outside our window and the clouds are dark and the rain is coming down, our mind can tell our brain that this is going to be a gloomy day … and so our mind programs our brain to see gloom and doom all day. But if our mind sees nourishment for our garden and we praise God for this provision of refreshment, our brain looks for good things in the cloudy or rainy day. We drag out our rain boots and go for a walk just so we can enjoy it as we splash in the puddles. It’s about taking control of our mind.
When our mind tells us to fear, our brain takes note and sends messages to all parts of our body that cause all kinds of physical and mental reactions to our mind’s decision to fear. Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) sums up for us an alternative: “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Peace is a mindset. It is about knowing who is in charge of your future. It’s knowing He shelters you under His wings, hides you in the cleft of the rock, provides a strong tower for you in the midst of a battle. He rules the universe. He loves you. Rest and peace are in Him alone. Set your mind on Him.
Answer Specific Fears with Faith
There have been two big fears in my life that keep reoccurring:
- 1. The loss of a loved one—particularly where my children are concerned.
Having lost a child to cancer, watching her suffer and the emptiness experienced in that loss, I feared losing myself if I lost one of them. If it’s possible to love too much, I do. I overprotected them, worried over them. Let’s just say it wasn’t always appreciated. It was irrational, it was unwarranted and unwanted, but it was real. God has had to take me on a journey where I have to give my children totally and completely to Him. I have to trust Him. They are His. I am His. I must rest and trust. Easy, no. Painful, yes. But I have learned sweet peace. Have I enjoyed the trial—no way. But the result has been great peace as I learn to trust Him.
- 2. Financial insecurity
I’m not sure why but even as a little child I feared loss of provision. Maybe it was because my dad was a minister. and we literally made it day by day, week by week, as God provided for us. You might think that would have taught me to trust, but as I became the mom with little ones to provide for, I became fearful when financial stresses came. I couldn’t sleep—there was no peace, only terror. I began to think I had to provide; I had to work multiple jobs. Now I’m sure there is some merit to my stepping up and taking responsibility and working hard, but I took it to an irrational level. I became a work-a-holic which took a toll on my health and my family.
All along I just needed to learn to trust Him. I found why I could trust Him in Matthew 6:32b (NKJV): “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Bottom line, my daddy knows my needs. Now I don’t know about your dad, but my dad would move heaven and earth to provide any need he ever knew I had. How much more does my heavenly Father love me and have plans to provide for me? And He not only has the power to provide my needs, but He also desires to give me “good gifts” (Luke 11:13).
Take His Hand
While I do not know what the future holds, I don’t have to live in fear because I know who walks beside me and leads me as He gently holds my hand. And this assurance means I can sleep peacefully, without fear, all night long. I can face stress and fearful times because He holds my hand. Oh, sweet peace—the absence of fear. So take His hand. Make sure of your salvation. Hold fast to His promises, and tell fear to flee. God’s got you, has a plan for you, and He says it is going to be good (Jeremiah 29:11). Trust the Almighty One—He’s your Abba Father.
This post by Carol Akin was first shared on her website, Mapping the Path to the Abundant Life, and titled Fear (Overcoming our Fears)–Part 3, posted on June 8, 2015. It has been adapted for Life with God.
Carol A. Akin
Carol recently retired and turned her focus to completing her first book, which outlines God’s formula for The Abundant Life. She and her agent hope to see it published in 2015. Her blog focuses on the seven key relationships of our lives.
A PK (preacher’s kid) and Bible college graduate, she has taught children, teens, women, seniors, and men transitioning from recovery. Regardless of age or circumstance, she has found God is able to meet each person right where they are and satisfy their longing heart. She loves working in her church and community and studying God’s Word. Carol lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, Hank, and two pugs. She has 5 children and 5 grandchildren.
Important Links:fear, peace, the peace of God, faith, trusting God, Overcoming Fear with Peace – A Guest Post by Carol A. Akin, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies