Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

When the Unexpected Brings Fear: Move Forward in Faith

  • Christine Caine
  • 2018 10 May
When the Unexpected Brings Fear: Move Forward in Faith

The unexpected is usually what brings the unbelievable.

—Mandy Kellogg Rye

Adrian reached down and touched Fraser’s emaciated body. Staring blankly at the tubes and monitor wires, Adrian faithfully thanked God for his precious son. The previous night had been one more night of darkness and quiet, violently interrupted by sadness and exhausted sobbing.

God, you have to fight for us. I don’t know if I have any fight left in me. I’m trusting you to make a way for us to get through this.

When Fraser had been born, he was a healthy boy—9 pounds, 10 ounces. As Fraser approached six weeks, Jayne noticed a familiar pattern. No. Not again.

“I took him to the doctor for a checkup. When they weighed him, I knew before they ever said it,” Jayne remembered. “I hated the words failure to thrive. Olivia also had been healthy at birth, but at six weeks, quit thriving… But she pulled through and lived to welcome her baby brother into this world. How could we go through this again?”

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Gianni Zanato

"That day began a new life for their family"

"That day began a new life for their family"

Day after day, week after week, Fraser didn’t put on even an ounce of weight. At six months old, he weighed exactly the same as at birth. Every day felt like death was lingering, ready to swallow him, until one day it pounced.

“As we raced him to the hospital,” Adrian recalled, “we had no idea if he would live or if he could live. We didn’t understand any of it, but we trusted God as we always had.”

When they arrived at the hospital, a team began to work on Fraser immediately. He quit breathing—twice. And what began as an emergency room visit turned into an eight-month stay. That day began a new life for their family that wouldn’t feel normal again for years.

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"In every battle we face, fear is our fiercest enemy"

"In every battle we face, fear is our fiercest enemy"

Failure to thrive is a term that could be used to describe more than just infants who can’t get enough nutrition or maintain a healthy weight. It equally could be used to describe our hearts when fear takes root and grows bigger than our faith, when fear so clouds our perspective that we can no longer see our faithful God—standing before us, ready and willing to guide us, ready to fight for us.

In every battle we face, fear is our fiercest enemy—and the enemy of our souls knows it. That’s why he’s always ready to foster it and reinforce it in our minds. If we don’t learn how to overcome its power, then it can defeat us every time. It can even develop into chronic conditions that manifest in our bodies and minds, such as anxiety, panic attacks, incessant worry, or sleepless nights.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Eddy Lackmann

"God made a way for us to be more than equipped"

"God made a way for us to be more than equipped"

Fear lies to us. It builds dread into our hearts. It tempts us to believe there are no answers. That the unexpected is something to fear. But fear is not from God, and it’s not more powerful than God. He knew it would come to steal our peace, not once or twice, but constantly throughout our lives. So, God made a way for us to be more than equipped to overcome its effects and walk in faith. He gave us three offensive weapons to lean into when we’re attacked: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of powerand of loveand of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV, emphasis added).

This verse clearly shows us that fear is a spirit, but it’s not from God. Every time fear tries to grip us, it’s the enemy trying to take us down and terrify us out of trusting God. But the spirit of fear is no match for the Spirit of God who lives inside us (Romans 8:15). God’s Spirit is the source of our power. We can rely on, draw on, and walk in peace in the midst of fear and anxiety because the God who is in us is greater than anything or anyone that comes against us (1 John 4:4).

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Andre Hunter

"In God there is no fear"

"In God there is no fear"

God has also equipped us with love. Why love? Because he is love, and he is the greatest power of all. When we spend time in his presence, our fear acquires a terminal case of failure to thrive. In God there is no fear, because perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:8,1 John 4:18).

God wants us to believe his love, walk in his love, and be mentally at peace. That’s the third weapon, having a sound mind. He doesn’t want us to live tormented by fear’s driving thoughts that lead to so much worry and stress. God has larger shoulders than we do, and he wants to carry our concerns for us. But we have to mentally hand them over to him.

We’ve all been to that place where the enemy has knocked the wind out of us. God understands when we feel this way, and he inspired the Psalms to show us how to identify our feelings and move forward in faith so we can get up and breathe again. He wants us to know that it is okay to feel afraid, but it is dangerous to let ourselves be controlled by fear.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Noemi Macavei Katocz

"Confronting fear never ends, but being controlled by fear can end"

"Confronting fear never ends, but being controlled by fear can end"

Every single one of my experiences, both the expected and the unexpected, is never wasted in God. I’ve learned how he uses them in my life—past and present—to prepare and to propel me into my future.

That’s what he did with all that Adrian and Jayne experienced.

They learned that confronting fear never ends, but being controlled by fear can end. They learned to thrive internally, despite not seeing improvements externally. They allowed God to work in them, and that allowed God to work through them.

Imagine how free we’d feel if we learned to truly believe that in every situation, trust was the antidote to fear, that consciously trusting God would cause our moments of anxiety and panic to be short-lived. Imagine if we could grow to a place where trusting him was our first reaction. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Petr Sevcovic

"Believers who flourish instead of failing to thrive"

"Believers who flourish instead of failing to thrive"

I believe if we did, then we would become overcomers who were never overwhelmed. We would become Christians who, when unexpected events occur, demonstrate the power, love, and sound mind God has given us. We would become believing believers who flourish instead of failing to thrive.

Taken from Unexpected by Christine Caine. Copyright 2018 by Christine Caine. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.

Christine Caine is the founder of A21, an international anti-human trafficking organization, and Propel, a women’s organization dedicated to helping women realize their purpose, passion and potential. She is the author of seven books, including her most recent, Unexpected: Leave Fear Behind, Move Forward in Faith, Embrace the Adventure. She and her husband Nick, and daughters Catherine and Sophia make their home in Southern California.

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