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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

My Battle with Fear

surgery from everystockphoto by otisarchives1Gripped by Fear

To avoid future strokes I had a hole in my heart closed up with a 25 millimeter patch of high-tech cloth developed by NASA that was put into my heart through a blood vessel in my leg.  Amazing.

The procedure went well, and I was released yesterday afternoon, feeling thankful, peaceful, and glad to have that behind me.

But when I got home all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I was barraged with fears.

What to Do

I feared a future stroke.  That the 25 millimeter patch would dislodge.  That the incision in my upper leg through which they did all this would tear open and I’d start bleeding and have to go back to the hospital.

Then I started worrying about what my medical issues could mean for our future, and whether we should change some of our plans.

Then I noticed that my heart was beating more rapidly than usual (duh), and I wondered if my heart was rejecting the patch.

By that time I was in serious trouble, drowning in fear, anxiety, and hopelessness.

So what should I do?

Options

I could try to reason myself out of my fear.

I could try not thinking about a future stroke, or the other anxieties that were pummeling me.

I could try to distract myself with TV, or a bowl of granola.

I could bewail what a miserable excuse of a Christian I was.

But by God’s grace I knew that none of those would solve the real problem, which was that Satan was attacking my faith, and winning.

Fighting Back

So I went back into my study, and started fighting the fight of faith.

I prayed, crying out to God for help.  I listed my fears.  I confessed my unbelief.

I asked him to help me see him more clearly.  I affirmed the truth of his sovereignty, mercy, wisdom, and love in Christ.

I surrendered my life to him again.  I asked him to so satisfy me in himself that I would embrace any earthly suffering to gain more of him.

I admitted that this would never happen apart from his grace.  But I quoted and prayed and preached to myself the promise of 2nd Corinthians 9:8 –

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

The Holy Spirit used this to strengthen my faith, and as a result most of the fears left (and my heart-rate returned to normal).

One Remaining Fear

But one fear remained: that I would not have enough wisdom to make future decisions.

So I went after this with my packet of memory verses.  The card on top was Romans 4:18-22.

I went over it, praying through each line.  Verse 21 was especially helpful –

[Abraham was] fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

One of my worries was whether I would have wisdom in future decisions.  But God promises to give us wisdom when we ask him –

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)

So I walked back and forth in my study, praying and preaching to myself Romans 4:21 (that God will do what he has promised), and James 1:5 (that God will give wisdom when we ask him).

And I cried out to God, pleading with him to fulfill his promise and give all the wisdom I needed.

Freedom

By his grace, through Jesus Christ, the Father worked by the Spirit to free me from my fears.

He strengthened my faith, showed me his truth, and reminded me of his promises.

As a result, my heart was changed.

What Do You Do?

What do you do when you are overwhelmed with fears?

Do you try to stop thinking about them , or reason your way out of them, or distract yourself from them?

God has a better way —

  • Coming to him as we are.
  • Telling him the state of our souls.
  • Confessing our unbelief.
  • Being assured of forgiveness through Christ.
  • Asking for his help.
  • Praying and preaching to ourselves the truth of God’s word.
  • Finding promises that target our fears.
  • Continuing until we experience the heart changing work of the Spirit.

Only God’s way tackles fears head-on, helping us see them in light of God’s promises, and changing our hearts in the process.

Use God’s way.

Questions?  Comments?

I’d love to hear them.  Leave a reply below — thanks.

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(Picture is from everystockphoto.com by otisrchives1.)

 

Category: Fearful or Worried?

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6 Responses

  1. Cheryl says:

    So awesome, Steve! Thanks for your personal honesty and teaching through your heart’s transformation….so amazing that as your heart is healing, getting stronger, your faith, your soul heart is getting stronger, beating more too! 🙂 Yeahhhh God and Praises for His Promises. So very grateful for you!

  2. Shawn Cox says:

    Thanks for this post, I really needed it. I had to make a decision this week about whether or not I need to leave my job. I was very scared about leaving my job. But God told me that I am moving in fear instead of faith. I told God all about my fears and he kept saying to me I won’t let you down or fail you, I will bless and take care of you. For the next several weeks, I am really focusing on reading, studying and meditating on scriptures focusing on faith. I like the answers you gave in how to overcome your fears. Good job.

  3. Arabah Joy says:

    Steve, just wanted to let you know I’m praying for you tonight. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world and I’m praying your faith is strong during this trial by fire. Also praying for your family. Thanks for keeping us updated and for sharing how you practically work through life’s circumstances in trust. You are an inspiration.

  4. Rex Rouis says:

    Outstanding article. I have a faith blog and you hit it right on the head. Excellent.

  5. Evette says:

    I recently had a bout with fear. My mind was racing, my body tensed up, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I prayed and asked God for help and I also asked Him to lead me to a scripture in the Bible. He led me to Jericho which is in the book of Joshua (this is the story of the soldiers marching around the wall 6 times until it fell down). I had never read this story before and I looked up a summary online to see what it was about. Well imagine my surprise when my eyes fell on a scripture that said, “Don’t be terrified; I am with you.” I felt so comforted and in awe–God heard my prayer and helped me!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Thank you for sharing your testimony of how God met you in his word and enabled you to battle fear.

      Time and again I find that when I am feeling fearful, and open up God’s Word and pray over certain Scriptures, he powerfully meets and frees me.

      What a glorious Savior we have in Christ!

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