Devotional – Overcoming Fear
I pulled up onto my drive and got off my motorbike, pulling it back onto the stand and locking it up for the night. It was cold and dark apart from the light of a streetlamp. I looked up, surprised the house outside light did not seem to be working, and I was sure I had switched it on when I left for work. I was tired now after a busy afternoon shift, and it was the end of the week and I was looking forward to something to eat and drink, cosied up in front of the fire. A chance to read and relax and a quiet weekend ahead, for my husband was away on a training course. I was thinking of food, and what I could make quickly, as I walked up the steps to the back door, digging in my pocket for the keys.
I opened the back door and paused on the threshold, the mug-stand, which should have been on the worktop, was on the floor, and the mugs were shattered and mixed in with a lot of broken glass. Looking across at the smashed kitchen window my heart sank. I listened carefully to see if I could hear anything other than the thumping of my own heart. I could smell cigarette smoke – and we did not smoke. Someone had been smoking in my house, someone who had broken in and didn’t care about the mess and damage they created. I strained my ears again, what if I had disturbed them and they were still there?
Then I heard a thump, thump, thump, from the stairs, and a shadowy figure framed the doorway from the hall….
This whole scene happened in just a few seconds, one of those moments when time seemed to slow down while I was frozen with fear. I heaved a sigh of relief, it was Heidi, my German Shepherd pup! Fully grown, black and long haired, and for many intimidating to look at, but at 9 months old still very much a baby. She was fast becoming my best friend. Whoever had broken in had cleared the downstairs of the house with anything portable of value but thankfully they had not taken her and didn’t seem to have harmed her. Maybe she had stayed upstairs, hiding under the bed, sleeping? Who knows…?
Living by faith
This story is a memory from when I was first married and had moved to a town which was miles away from my family and friends – a long time ago now. But I haven’t forgotten that moment of fear.
So often in the middle of difficult situations we become fixated on the why has this happened to me. But if we stay at that place of hurt, anger, resentment, or even self-pity, we miss the spiritual grace that God is working in our hearts. God will allow situations and circumstances to shape and mould us – working all things together for our good. The lesson is often not in the detail of what has happened but, in the effect, it has on us and our response to what has happened.
The lesson is not found in the detail of what has happened, but in our response to what has happened.Tweet
In this experience the detail was our material possessions that had been stolen from us, but the effect was to make me feel fearful of being alone in my own home. My response was not entirely rational but not unusual either, and the lesson was one of overcoming fear by learning to depend on the faithfulness of God.
Several hours later, after I had dealt with the break-in, a wave of tiredness swept over me, I felt drained, sad, and frightened. I did not want to stay in the house on my own but I had no choice. My family were miles away and even when my husband came home from this trip, he worked shifts so would often be working at night. I got myself ready for bed, convinced that I would never be able to sleep. I knew that the only way to calm my fears was to pray, and quote scripture.
Scriptures for overcoming fear
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.Psalm 46:1-2
Praying and quoting Scripture and allowing the truth of God’s word to fill my mind brought a peace and reassurance that I was not alone.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.Psalm 23:4
We cannot measure the strength of our faith, it is not quantifiable, and it does not grow in storage. It is only when we put our faith into action, when we need it, that God will cause that tiny seed of faith to grow and provide us with all the strength that we need.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?Psalm 56:3-4
Our faith is strengthened when we step into the unknown, when we are afraid, but obedient, choosing to trust in the Lord and the promises of His word. It is then that we develop a resilient faith – based on our knowledge of God’s faithfulness, through the hard and difficult times. It is there in those moments that we learn:
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.Philippians 4:13
I did eventually fall asleep. And the next night it was a little easier, and slowly over the next few weeks the fear receded.
Fear and faith can coexist there may be times for various reasons when we feel fearful – it is after all a natural emotion. It is our response to the unknown, to those situations which we feel may threaten us in some way, real or irrational. There may be moments of fear, and times of confronting our fears, but we are not to live controlled by fear.
I don’t know what you are going through right now, and what shape your fears may take, but God does. Whether they are for your finances, family members, health issues, bereavement, isolation, loneliness, large or small, real or irrational, whatever they are based on, God is able to bring you through. Jesus came to set us free from any fear that would bind us, restrict us or hold us back – He came to give us life and life to the full!
As we acknowledge our fears, and take them to God in prayer, strengthening ourselves with the truth of His word, we can overcome by faith in the One who has overcome for us!
“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
Bible Verses for Overcoming Fear
- Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
- Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
- Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Isaiah 43:5
- Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress; I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2
- So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Free printable of all ten scripture verses for overcoming fear!