How Do I Walk by Faith in the Middle of Widespread Fear?
- Anne Peterson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2020 18 Mar
If you’re really quiet you can almost hear it: the heartbeats of those around you. People are scared. We try to distract ourselves so we get more information, thinking it will help diminish fears. But instead, fears grow.
So what do we do when we are surrounded by fear? Here are 6 ways to demonstrate faith in the midst of widespread fear:
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1. Feed on God’s Truth
Like many of you, as news of the coronavirus spreads, I’m tempted to be afraid. And sometimes I’ve given into that fear. Through this, I’ve found that what I put into my mind determined how I would feel.
In Romans 10:17, Paul tells us faith comes by hearing the Word of God. And we’ve all experienced holding onto faith. We’ve all at times leaned into knowing that God will work, when things seemed impossible (Luke 18:27). What we put into our minds floats around in there. And while we get swept up in the day’s news, convincing ourselves more knowledge will help us worry less, it doesn’t always work like that.
When you finally rest your head on your pillow at night, and close your eyes, the images parading in front of you are often the images you saw that day. The temptation is great to give into fear. Especially in a crisis where others are scared.
But if faith comes by hearing the Word of God, we’ll never have faith when we feed only on what the world says instead.
2. Meditate on God’s Word
Think back on a circumstance God got you through, and search your mind for a verse that kept you afloat. Below are a few of mine, if your memory isn’t serving you very well right now. And by the way, don’t be surprised by that ‘fogginess.’ Going through stressful times consumes energy, which affects mental capacity as well. Here are some verses worth memorizing:
Deuteronomy 31:6 - God says to be strong and courageous. To not be afraid or terrified. Why? Because God goes with you, he will never leave nor forsake you.
Isaiah 26:3 - God will keep you in peace when your mind is steadfast because you trust in Him.
Isaiah 41:10 - God reminds you that you don’t have to be afraid for God is with you. He is our God and he will uphold each of us with His hand.
When Jesus himself was being tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), the enemy kept throwing scenarios at him. But Jesus answered Satan the same way over and over: “It is written.”
We are so fortunate to have the Bible so we can read God’s truth and find real answers to life’s problems. Let those verses seep into your fearful mind and keep you steady.
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3. Hold God’s Hand
When I’ve gone through difficult times in my life, I’ve made it, because I learned to hold onto my Heavenly Father’s hand. These two poems I’ve written address that simple trust.
I do not understand my life, it’s difficult for me
Some questions have no answers, at least that I can see.
And yet, with every year I’ve grown, there is a truth that God makes known,
I do not have to understand, but simply hold my Father’s hand.
If you’ve ever seen a child take their first steps, they are kind of wobbly. The only way they can navigate is holding onto someone’s hand. As adults, we can still do that today.
My Father’s Hand
The world may never understand,
why I still hold my Father’s hand.
It doesn’t matter, I don’t care;
for when I call, my Father’s there.
When you’re holding onto someone’s hand, you don’t have to worry about falling. They will catch you because they are concerned about you. Their steps are sure and they’ve got experience on uneven ground.
4. Sing or Listen to Uplifting Music
You may not feel like singing when fear is knocking at your door. But there’s something funny about songs. No matter how you feel when you start, after a few moments, your feelings change. It’s about what you focus on. One of my favorites is the chorus of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, by Alan Jackson.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face. And the things on earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.
Perhaps a song that once helped you will pop into your head. One you sang, or one you heard. Just listening to that song transported you to a place of peace. Your circumstances didn’t change, but your thoughts did. And when our thoughts change, it changes our behavior.
When I go through difficult times, I listen to this song by my son, Nathan Peterson.
When he and his wife had a baby with Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder, their whole life was turned upside down. And when she slipped into heaven, they tried finding rest.
You can hear that struggle as you listen to his words. May you find peace and rest as well.
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5. Watch Where You Look
As you focus on who God is, you get a different perspective. As your eyes are on Jesus, like Peter’s were in John 14:22-33, you can also walk by faith.
But when you look at the wind and waves around you, like Peter, you will slip down. The good news is, God will reach down immediately and pull you up again. He’s that close to you. Psalm 46:1 says that God is your refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble. He’s there. He’s always there.
The world is scared right now. They read and hear what’s happening not only here, but in other countries and fear grabs onto us. But God is still here. And he is sovereign. While some of the news we hear surprises us, nothing surprises our God.
Paul said in 2Corinthians 12:9-11, when he is weak, then he is strong. He talked about his hardships, persecutions, difficulties. The only reason Paul was strong was that God became his strength. And God offers that to you and me as well (Matthew 11:28). God offers rest.
Look around. There are scared people everywhere. Some of them have nothing to hold. Some know nothing of God’s Word and God’s presence. Christians, living by faith, can be the ones to share. For when we all put truth into our minds, God gives a peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7).
You may not feel like a rock some days, but you can lead others to the one who is our rock (Psalm 18:31 and 2 Samuel 22:2).
6. Pray without Ceasing
God says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing. As I journal, I pray for people with cancer, those struggling in their relationships, those with financial needs. I pray because God is the answer to all of our problems:
God is Jehovah Jireh, the one who meets our needs.
God is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals.
God is Jehovah Shammah, the Lord is there.
Hebrews 4:16 invites you to come before your Holy God and to place your requests before him. Some people know nothing about that. If Christians answer his call to fill our minds with truth about God, if we take his hand, and keep our eyes on him, people around us will notice something different. And then we may have the opportunity to give an answer of the hope that lies within us (1Peter 3:15).
When people are scared, they are looking for answers to dispel their fears. Those of us who know the Lord personally and are walking in faith can offer answers others need.
People need a rock to hold onto, and you and I can lead them to that rock.
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A Prayer to Walk in Faith Not Fear
Father, God, you are Almighty. No matter how scary things may look around us, you are bigger still. Lord, none of what we go through day to day surprises you. You are the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. You are our rock and our deliverer.
And yet, you are the gentle God who knows when even a sparrow falls, as we learn in Matthew 10:29. Loving Father, thank you that you never step back, but instead, you stay right near us. And you’re close enough to hear our hearts beat, the very hearts you made.
Father, give us wisdom and grace for each day. And give us the words to say to those who need to hear them. We pray this in your Son Jesus’ precious and Holy name. Amen.