By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
Fear is a weapon of the enemy designed to keep God’s people trapped. Whether that fear arises from real circumstances or illogical conclusions, God tells us that we can walk through any valley or any terror filled with peace.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 NKJV
“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day…A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.” Psalm 91:5-7 NKJV
But knowing that truth, and physically living that truth, are two different ideas entirely.
Change Your Focus
I live by myself in an urban neighborhood. It’s a family-oriented space, but there is a lot of activity surrounding it. Usually, that activity is fairly benign.
My apartment ‘complex’ is a L-shape of eight apartments with a grassy space in the middle. My bedroom window faces the grassy middle, and my bathroom window faces a street.
One night, as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed a lot of colored lights outside the bathroom window. Upon closer inspection, I discovered multiple police cars parked on the street with their lights whirling.
Then, I heard the helicopter circling (our medium-sized police department has and makes solid use of its helicopter), which the police department uses most when it is looking for a criminal.
Ok…THEN I heard banging on my neighbor’s doors both below and to the side. I pushed open my bedroom window and found several police officers outside talking to a neighbor. They were asking if we had seen a 25-year-old male running through or if we had a key to the complex’s storage space. Did I mention that this is 11:30 at night?
Now, I’m freaked. But technically, I live upstairs and in the back corner.
So, if someone was truly trying to hide from the police or take someone hostage, there are several other apartments in my L that would be significantly easier to get to. Even if I wasn’t protected by Father God and His spiritual kingdom – which I am and we ARE – the chance of danger for me was miniscule.
But that logic wasn’t getting through to my racing heart. The police continually sweeping through that L with flashlights and in a state of agitation didn’t help my growing sense of fear, either.
But then, I started to do something that did help.
It’s Not About Me
I changed my focus. I started to pray – but not for myself, for the people outside my apartment.
That young man, whether he had actually committed a crime or was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, had to have been as unsettled as I was – in all likelihood, much more so. I began to pray in my spirit and my understanding for his heart and to imagine his fear subsiding.
I started praying for the police, who were likely jacked with adrenaline as well, for their minds to be clear and their hearts to be calm.
Here is the best part – the more I focused on others, the more calm I became. The beating of my heart slowed down as I prayed for that young man’s heart to slow down. The physical tight pain in my chest I get when I’m really scared loosened as I claimed a lessening of tension and increase of peace for the officers.
Finally, I was able to sleep (and finally, the hunt ceased as well).
I thought of Job in the Bible: after all that he went through, all the loss and hurt and deep pain, what finally turned the tides for him is when he prayed for someone else.
“And the Lord restored Job’s losses [KJV reads “turned the captivity of Job”] when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10 NKJV
Jesus modeled this, too, when he was distraught over the beheading of John the Baptist. But instead of wallowing in his quite legitimate pain, Jesus was moved with compassion for those hurting around him.
Love Casts Out Fear
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” 1 John 4:18 NIV
Other translations of that verse read “expels all fear” and “casts out fear” – the point is, fear and love cannot co-exist in the same space. And one of the ways to show love for another human being is to think of what they need, what they are feeling, and extend prayers toward that.
By praying for and being concerned for someone else, we open the door for God to rain blessings in our own life. When we reach out and comfort someone else, we are often comforted ourselves.
That’s that upside down Kingdom logic, and that’s an antidote to fear.
For another testimony of how to back down fear, read January Parker’s “Fear, You Can’t Live Here!”