Apr 10, 2014
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?
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.
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.
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.
I’d love to hear them. Leave a reply below — thanks.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- Bible Verses about Fear
- A Reader Asks: If Bad Things Can Happen then Why not Worry?
- How Jesus Frees Us From Fear (4-Min Video — With French Fries)
- Fearful or worried?
(Picture is from everystockphoto.com by otisrchives1.)