We are all familiar with fear on some level. Sometimes it presents as a low-level angst that we are not able to shake off. We fear conflict, violence, natural disaster, disease, death, unemployment, and change. According to the dictionary, fear is an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined.
If we are keeping it real, fear has been a constant companion of mine for many years. I am talking about the kind of fear that overwhelms and paralyzes. Have you experienced this type of fear?
Lately, I uncovered the source of this fear. It goes back to an incident that happened in high school. It was past bedtime. The only light in the room was from a kerosene lantern on my desk where I sat burning the midnight oil as I prepared for my final exams.
The other students were asleep. I thought I heard one of the girls getting up to use the bathroom down the hall. Suddenly, there was someone standing in front of my desk. It was a dark figure with a mask. Although I was afraid, I summoned courage and asked what the intruder wanted. After a couple of slaps, he held a knife to my throat and threatened to kill me. I felt FEAR at the core of my being… the kind of fear that is beyond words.
Another slap… I pleaded with him to spare my life and those of the other girls in the dormitory. I thought about my parents and siblings…
King Saul and the Israelites know a thing or two about fear as they faced Goliath and the Philistines (1 Samuel 17). Like the intruder that came to my dormitory, Goliath was a formidable foe that stood over nine feet tall and wore an armor that weighed about five thousand shekels. His spear and iron point alone weighed six hundred shekels. Not only was Goliath intimidating physically, he verbally harassed and insulted king Saul and the Israelites for forty days non-stop.
Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
David was a young shepherd boy and the youngest son of Jesse. The Philistines were at war with the Israelites. David’s father sent him to the war front to check on his brothers. Upon arrival, David heard Goliath, the Philistine as he shouted threats. All the Israelite men ran from Goliath in great fear. No one could stand up to him.
King Saul promised great wealth to anyone who would kill Goliath. Young David volunteered to take on the task. He shared his credentials with Saul and described to him how he had killed lions and bears that went after his sheep. To him, this uncircumcised Philistine was like one of those bears because he was defiling the armies of the Living God.
Can you believe David’s qualifications? David believed that the Lord would grant him victory over Goliath.
The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:37
David defeated the giant with a stone and a sling. All it took was a slingshot that struck Goliath on the forehead for him to fall and die.
On that fateful day as I stared fear and terror in the face with a knife at my throat, I reached into my heart to find a stone with which to slay my Goliath. The stone that was available to me was not a physical stone, but one that was in my heart. It was Psalm 23 which I had memorized as a kid. I recited it over and over in my mind and asked the Lord to save me from harm.
I calmly engaged the intruder and tried to persuade him to leave us alone. After what seemed like an eternity, a car honked and suddenly, the intruder left. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but several students had knife cuts.
This was one time I was grateful to my parents for making me memorize scripture.
While I sustained no physical harm from this ordeal from high school, the emotional trauma has been the source of an underlying fear that has stayed with me for a long time. I was not fully aware of its impact. I just thought I was super sensitive and tried to cope as best as I could.
Fear is sometimes born out of our negative experiences.
Fear is real… but we don’t have to partner with it.
It took other crises in my life before I confronted my fears and traced its roots. When I started studying scriptures about fear, I understood that God’s plan is not for me to live in fear. Uncovering this source of fear is helping to set me free. Not dealing with our fears hold us back and rob us of joy and freedom.
Do you want to overcome your fears?
Today, let us declare war over our fears. Let us choose to believe God’s word and walk in freedom by:
- Hiding God’s word in your heart by memorizing scriptures about Fear.
- Speaking scripture aloud when fear rears its ugly head.
- Choosing to trust God when you are afraid. Believe that God’s perfect love casts out all fear.
- Believing that the Lord, who granted David victory over Goliath desires to give you victory over your fears
Prayer: Father, thank you for helping me to identify the source of fear in my life. Thank you for uprooting all fears and replacing them with your truth and love. Empower me to trust and choose to walk in your perfect plan and not allow fear to hold me back. I declare that I am parting ways with fear this year.
Scriptures to overcome fear: Isaiah 12:2; Psalm 56:3; Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 23:4; Psalm 27:1