Faith Chased My Fears Away
by Jill Briscoe
I’ve always been a fearful person. Perhaps it began sitting in an air raid shelter in England during World War II. I remember cowering under a blanket hugging a hot water bottle to my chest, feeling the racing of my heart against my ribs. Night after night our family would head underground, hating the darkness that signaled the sirens and carnage. I was very afraid a bomb would, as we used to say, “have my name on it.”
I was afraid for my daddy who was fighting in the war as an Air Force pilot. I was afraid for my mother, elder sister and me, feeling like sitting ducks as bombs pounded us. I believed in God, but I wondered if He cared whether we survived or not!
Fear comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It can sneak up on you unexpectedly like a terrorist, or with ominous warning signals like the drone of an airplane. Fear can even make you ill, causing heart attacks or fainting spells. I hate the sick feelings of fear. Fear can certainly be exaggerated by a vivid imagination. There is the fear of what your kids are up to out of sight – especially if they get home late after a date. There is the fear your children will marry ill-advisedly or will not marry at all. And there is the fear of losing your job, your savings or your health – even your faith!
There is the fear of not being liked or appreciated, affirmed or loved. There is the fear of failure, boredom, termination or bankruptcy. And if you are in ministry, there is always the fear of having to lead the women of the church when they really intimidate you or the fear of failure when you can’t meet everyone’s expectations! Enough about fear – I fear I have made you afraid of it!
What can counter and overcome our fears? Another fear! The fear of God, the glorious realization that He is bigger than all of our phobias and fears. If we fear God, we have nothing else to fear. In fact, Jesus said as much. Don’t fear him who can kill the body! Fear Him who has the power to cast both body and soul into hell (that is, God). The devil is the father of fear while God is the Father of faith.
Let me tell you how God has overcome many of my fears that have buried me in the past. First, I have always had a fear of being laughed at. As a child, I was really shy and used to blush all the time. Then I became a Christian who was expected to stand up and speak out and that took care of my selfconsciousness in a hurry. Second, I feared loneliness. I have spent a good part of many years being apart from my family, sometimes for months on end. So, I have had to learn to lean on Him first and not treat my husband like the Holy Spirit! Third, I have feared that my children would not make it with God. I had to learn to let that go and promise the Lord that I would go on with Him even if my kids didn’t! Fourth, I have feared death. The fear of flying nearly grounded me as a speaker! How could I get on a plane in a total panic and then get off and start speaking about faith? I have experienced real victory in this area of my life, maybe because God gave me lots of practice. Amazingly, I just received my 100 thousand mile frequent flyer card for actual miles flown in one year!
In the end, it has been faith that has chased my fears away! Faith in a God big enough and near enough and powerful enough to teach me how to trust and not be afraid. This issue deals with this very issue! Thinking about this, I penned a poem – just for us! Enjoy! Maybe you would like to climb into it to make it a prayer of your own.