One Antidote to Fear: Recounting God’s Faithfulness in Difficult Times
It’s easy to allow fear to set in when we forget how faithful God has been in the past. Take the time to remember not to forget.
My stomach was in knots. I felt like I was going to throw up and I could hardly breathe. My 6-year-old grandson had suddenly become ill. It turned out that his liver was failing, and he needed a liver transplant, or he would likely die. Family and friends gathered in the chapel of the hospital to cry and pray and comfort one another.
As the night wore on, we heard the rotors of a helicopter landing on the roof bringing a donor liver for our grandson. We were overwhelmed with emotions-sadness for another child who had died, deep grief for this child’s parents, and yet a flicker of hope for ours to be spared. It was a night of fear. What if he dies? What would this do to our kids, his parents?
Help us, Jesus.
During this hard night, I knew that we could lose him. But I was reminded of a deeper truth. At any time in this life, we can lose everything. I mean everything. There is only one thing we cannot lose- His presence. He has promised that He will never leave us. Ever. (Hebrews 13:5). His name is Immanuel= God with Us. He sticks to us no matter what. And one day if we have given our lives to Him, he will take us home to heaven to be with him forever. (Our grandson did recover.)
At any given moment most of us experience fear. We try to trust God but those fears-some silly and some serious- creep in again. It’s annoying and frustrating and for some can be debilitating. We fear failure, tragedy, bad things, evil people, and our list goes on.
David himself was often afraid.
When young David was fleeing from one terrible danger, he found himself in a place even more dangerous and he feared for his life.
“When I am afraid, I will trust in God.” (Psalm 56:3)
Ok, so we know we should trust in God. But it’s not so easy.
I believe that one antidote to fear is: Remembering.
The Old Testament is full of fears and of rememberings.
Perspective and comfort come in remembering.
In the Old Testament, individuals repeatedly found peace in times of fear by pausing and remembering the provisions of God in times past.
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses tells the children of Israel to remember that God has always met their needs and would again.
When Joshua first assumed command of the Israelites as they were about to enter the promised land, he urged the people to remember how often Moses had told them not to forget God’s repeated provision. (Joshua 1:13)
When David set up the Tabernacle as a place of worship, He said,
“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his faith always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles and the judgments he pronounced.” (1 Chronicles 16:11-12)
Picture a tin bucket. It has a small crack in the bottom. If you fill it with water it will begin to leak out the bottom, albeit slowly depending upon the crack. But it leaks. It must be continually refilled. In a way, our faith is like this. It must be continually filled up.
One way to do this is to recount God’s faithfulness in the past.
Several years ago, we were on an adult getaway with 5 couples. Our ages ranged from 60 to 80. During our time we took turns to look back and to share specific instances where we had seen God’s faithfulness in the first 20 years of our life, the 2nd 20 and the 3rd 20. This specific time of remembering filled each of our leaky faith buckets. It was sort of like a faith energy drink to help us believe Him for the future. Too often our tendency is to forget His faithfulness or to focus solely on the painful things in the past.
When we remember His faithfulness in the past our faith is built up for the future and our tendency to fear lessens.
In His Word
Read Psalm 139: 1-18 and underline the verses that speak to you today.
How do these verses encourage you?
In Your Life
Gather your family around the table. Ask each person to remember a specific time in the past ten years in which, looking back, they can see God’s faithfulness. Sing together: “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”
Susan’s books, Risky Faith, Becoming Brave Enough to Trust the God who is Bigger Than Your World, and Cousin Camp, a Grandparents Guide to Creating Fun, Faith, and Memories that Last.
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