Overcoming the Fear Factor
- Monday, March 21, 2011
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an extract from An Untroubled Heart: Finding a Faith That Is Stronger Than All My Fears by Micca Campbell (David C. Cook).
Worry, fear, and anxiety were never meant to be a part of our vocabulary, and yet most of us worry more than we’d care to admit. What are you afraid of? Are you scared of waking up to an intruder in the middle of the night? Perhaps it’s flying on an airplane. Maybe it’s the fear of sending your child off to college. Perhaps your greatest fear is not being able to provide for your family. Most of us can find something that haunts us.
Panic best describes the emotion I felt when the nurse rolled Jimmy out into the living room. Both of his legs and most of his fingers had been amputated. Jimmy was the father of my son’s friend. Beset with diabetes, he was at the end of his life, but refused to let go. Concerned about whether Jimmy knew the Lord or not, I had phoned his wife, Juanita, and asked if I could visit him. I wanted to be sure that Jimmy would meet his Creator as Savior and not as Judge.
Jimmy’s deteriorating condition took me by surprise. When I saw him I was terrified. I whispered to the Lord under my breath, "Oh, God, how can I minister to this man when I don't know what he's been through?" Even though I was scared stiff, somehow I knew God would show up to do what I couldn’t do. That’s exactly what He did because God has given us this promise. ““I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).
As Jimmy and I talked, it was apparent that he knew the Father, but I sensed there was more. We weren’t far into our conversation when I discovered the real trouble with Jimmy — he was afraid to die.
I told Jimmy Bible stories about God sending angels to people in need, people just like him. Those angels had a special message: “Fear not, for God is with you!” As I shared with Jimmy, peace washed over his face as he received the message for himself.
At Jimmy's funeral his wife shared Jimmy’s last moments with me. Jimmy would often wake from his sleep wide-eyed and call out, "I'm afraid!" Juanita would pat him gently and remind him of God's promise: "Don't be afraid, Jimmy. God is with you." Then he would sleep again. The last time Jimmy opened his eyes, he just stared at the ceiling. His wife asked, "Jimmy, are you afraid?" Jimmy whispered, "No, I'm not afraid. I'm just looking at the angels." With that, Jimmy stepped from this world into the next.
I find it interesting that while Jimmy’s outcome didn’t change, the way he experienced death changed because he trusted in the promise of God. I experienced this same truth in my life. Even though I pleaded with God to save my first husband from death, it wasn’t God’s plan. Yet I chose to trust God’s purpose. In spite of my fear, I chose to believe what I couldn’t understand. Doing so changed the way I journeyed through life and the valley of death. I had a companion named Jesus.
Jimmy’s story reminds me that when I’m afraid, I need not fret because the same promise God made to Jimmy, He makes to you and me: “Fear not, child, for I am with you.” In fact, did you know that the phrase “fear not” is stated in the Bible 366 times? That’s one “fear not” for every day of the year, with one extra left over for those really hard days. Why does God faithfully remind us over and over to “fear not”? He does so because we are not created to live in fear. Second Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” You and I were created to live by faith, and in God, we have all the power we need for a faith that is stronger than all our fears.
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