Jul 11, 2012
There I was — minding my own business — doing some reading.
Suddenly I felt a SHARP pain in my tooth. Ouch!
It lasted maybe 5 seconds — and then was gone.
But an hour or two later — it happened again. And then again.
And it struck me — I have a problem.
A feeling of dread
Now I know — a toothache is tiny compared to what some of you are facing.
So call me a wimp.
But as I felt this pain I started wondering —
- Is God punishing me?
- What if it’s really serious?
- What if I face big medical or financial decisions?
- How much is this going to cost?
And my heart filled with dread, fear, and anxiety.
The root cause
When I feel dread, fear, and anxiety — it’s because I’m not trusting God’s promises.
You can see that in Scriptures like Psa 56:3; Isa 12:2; Mark 4:40.
So it’s not going to help if I —
- think about something else (have you tried that?)
- say “it’s all going to be fine” (says who? and what does that mean?)
- distract myself with TV (how long can that last?)
— because none of those point me to God’s promises.
What I needed was to fight the fight of faith.
So I tried to answer each question by praying over a promise —
Is God punishing me?
It’s easy to think trials are punishments from God.
But that stirs fear — because it means that in this trial God is against me.
But the promise of God’s Word is —
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1)
Why no condemnation?
Because Jesus took upon Himself all the condemnation I deserve — so forever I will only know God’s love.
So as I prayed over this truth — I saw that God was loving me in this trial (Rom 8:38-39).
The dread started to lift.
What if it’s really serious?
It doesn’t help to think — that probably won’t happen.
Because then all I’ve got is — I probably don’t need to panic.
And God’s Word gives a better answer —
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2Cor 4:17)
Which means God has ordained this tooth problem to give me even more joy in Him — now and forever.
He could do this by healing me from the tooth problem — or by satisfying and helping me during the tooth problem.
So I prayed for healing — and rested in His sovereign goodness.
The dread lifted more.
What if I face big medical or financial decisions?
Don’t laugh. I know it’s only a toothache.
But this is where my mind went.
So — let’s say I do have to make some big decisions — what does God promise?
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)
Even if the decision is big — tough — complex —
God promises that when I ask He will give all the wisdom I need — generously and without reproach.
As I prayed over that promise — decision-dread left.
But I had one last pocket of dread —
How much is this going to cost?
I have been preaching on Jesus’ promises about money from Matt 6.
So these promises were fresh in my mind — especially Matt 6:33 —
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
As I prayed about this — I knew and saw and felt that God was in control of this toothache.
He would decide how much it cost.
And even if it was expensive — He would provide every penny we needed.
As I prayed over that promise — the last bit of dread lifted.
It took maybe 15 minutes.
But my heart changed from dread, fear, and anxiety — to peace, strength, and hope.
Not by looking on the bright side.
Not by thinking positively.
- turning to Jesus Christ as I am —
- pleading for His heart-changing power —
- and praying over His promises —
- until I feel the Holy Spirit strengthening my faith and changing my heart.
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And here’s some related posts you might find helpful —
Asking Why? Here's God's Loving Purpose For Every Trial
How Jesus Frees Us From Fear (4-Min Video -- With French Fries)
Does God Ordain Every Trial?
Facing Problems or Trials?
(Picture by Conor Lawless on everystockphoto.)