Written By Robyn Scott, USA
It was just after college. I was listening to one of my favorite Christian radio shows, and the topic that day was fear. I thought to myself, “I really don’t have a problem with fear,” but I listened anyway.
Fast forward about 10 years . . . Now I can tell you about fear. Fear of losing another loved one. Fear that I, or someone I love, will become seriously ill. Fear that I’ll have to take care of another elderly family member. Fear of family problems.
Fresh out of college, I wasn’t exactly in a world of butterflies and rainbows, but my problems were my own—I didn’t know much about taking care and responsibility of others. In the years between then and now, I’ve lost my dad to brain cancer, which left me as the only family member to take care of my elderly grandma, and I’ve been through some intense trials with my mom after an already difficult childhood. These life events have bred constant fears that something else will happen—I think, “Okay, God, what’s next? Will something happen to my husband or son?”
Due in part to a book I read about Christians who were driven to a closer relationship to Jesus through trials, I started to fear that the closer I got to God, the more bad stuff would happen to me. I reasoned that God might spare me from massive trials if I just tread lightly and checked the right “Christian” boxes. I continued going to church, but I wasn’t really growing and I was okay with that. Then I started to fear that if I stayed away from God for too long, He’d throw a trial my way to get my attention and bring me back to Him. The cycle of fear seemed never ending.
We know that we will all have trials. Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
I find that verse somewhat comforting. Trials will happen, but Jesus has overcome them all. But I still get hung up on the part about what to do when trials happen. Even if we accept that trials happen, I still don’t like it. I don’t want those trials. I don’t know how I’ll deal with them.
As I wrestled through my struggle with fear, here are the biblical truths that God led me to:
He’s brought me through trials before, and He’ll do it again.
In thinking back to past trials, I am able to remember that God got me through them. Like in Psalm 77: 11-12:
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
When new trials come, this is my first reassurance that just as God has already come through for me, He will come through for me again.
Fear doesn’t have the last say.
As for the fears I have about things that might still occur, I think about what my grandma told me when I constantly worried about her falling: “Honey, you’re worrying about something that hasn’t happened.”
When I remember these words of wisdom from my sweet grandma, I am able to reiterate that my fears may never come to fruition; and in that case my worry would be wasted. But if they do, I will be better prepared to handle the situation if I have focused on the truths of the Word such as Psalm 77:11-12, rather than wastefully worrying. Matthew 6:34 says,
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Jesus should hold first place in my heart.
As dearly and intensely as we love our spouses and children, Jesus should still be our priority. Luke 14:26 says,
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
This may not mean to literally hate our family. But as it’s been explained to me, our love for Jesus in comparison with our love for our family should be that vast. I had put concerns that something would happen to my husband or son ahead of growing closer to God—a priority I needed to reset, since Jesus comes first, and the truth is that God loves me as well as my family. He knows exactly how to best care for each of us.
God will comfort us as we experience trials.
Psalm 34: 17-19 reminds us of this:
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.
In the end, God will be there to catch us. He will wrap His loving arms around us and give us comfort and strength that we would otherwise not have, as well as “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
Today, I still pray for my family every day. I still believe that growth and great faith develops through trials, but with God’s help, I have learned that a close relationship with Jesus is worth any trial that may come my way.
If I catch myself starting to hold back from serving God due to fear, I pray and ask for forgiveness for my selfishness. I don’t always get the same response; sometimes He reassures me of the truths I have written about here; sometimes I sense Him telling me that if I would stop holding back, He can use my past trials to help others. But by focusing on these principles, one thing is sure: fear no longer takes over my day and I am able to be a better servant to Jesus.