Earlier this week I was asked how to handle fear. It came as part of a conversation I was having with a woman from our church who is feeling overwhelmed by fear because of all that’s happening with the Covid-19 virus. It was a reasonable question, and one that I think many of us have wrestled with as we’ve watched the virus spread, and as we’ve heard stories from all over the world about the impact it’s having.
However, the question of how to handle our fear is also one that we’ve probably all had to address before, because we all regularly face situations in our lives which bring us face to face with our fears. The challenge comes in not letting those fears keep us from doing what God wants us to do. The Apostle Paul drives this point home in 2 Timothy 2:17, when he tells us: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
God does not want us to be afraid. So even as we’re following government directives, and we’re participating in things like social distancing - God does not want us to be afraid as we go about life with these restricted guidelines. And the good news is, He doesn't just say, “Don't be afraid”, and then leave us on our own with our fears. Instead, He tells us how to live life without fear. Listen to Psalm 55:22, which instructs us to, “Cast your burdens on the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”
I love the visual image that this verse gives us because when I read the word “cast”, I think of someone fishing. And while I’m not a seasoned fisher, I do know what it means to cast something - it means to take something and throw it away from you, using force. So if you’re fishing, you grab that pole and you swing it hard so that the hook goes far away from you. And that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do when it comes to dealing with our fear. We’re supposed to take it and throw it far away from us to the only One who can handle it - God.
If we do this, God promises us that He will deal with it. Listen again to the end of Psalm 55:22, as it tells us, “He will take care of you – He will not let the godly slip and fall.” God will take care of us. He will hold us up. He will keep us in place. He will make sure we have everything we need spiritually to walk through whatever it is we’re facing. And most importantly, He will keep us from being overwhelmed by our fear and worry. Which means that when we're afraid, we need to remember all that God has told us in His Word, and then we need to cast our cares on Him – replacing our fear and anxiety with thoughts of God and His comfort.
So today, let's ask God to help us with our fear. Let's ask Him to show us the areas where we’re letting fear rule our lives. And then let's ask Him to help us cast those fears on Him – and let Him replace our fear with a boldness to face whatever He has for us today.