Considering the volume of material in the Bible devoted to such commands as “fear not” and “trust God,” this must have been something people struggled with a lot. We are not a unique generation. Clearly, God knew this would be an ongoing issue for generations. Recognize that you are not alone. People in the Bible panicked or allowed fears or a lack of faith in God to drive their actions as well.
Think of Adam and Eve, who, as soon as they sinned for the first time, hid from God. That was the beginning of fear in the Bible (Genesis 3).
Think of Abraham and Sarah, who feared they would never have an heir. Their lack of trust in God drove them to take action into their own hands, which resulted in Ishmael’s conception (Genesis 16).
Think of Moses, who kept asking, “Who am I,” citing his many personal inadequacies to lead the Israelites. When God turned Moses’s rod into a snake, Moses ran in fear (Exodus 4:3). Moses feared public speaking (Exodus 4:10). Moses begged God to use someone else, letting his insecurities overpower him (Exodus 4:13). Doesn’t Moses sound like a man with an anxiety disorder?
Think of Gideon, who feared his limits and doubted his abilities. He questioned if God was going to help him. He was afraid God had abandoned him and the Israelites (Judges 6:13). God counseled Gideon with the words, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die” (Judges 6:23). Then Gideon built an altar and named it “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24). Gideon had the right reaction and became a man of faith. God’s counsel sunk into Gideon’s heart.
Think of David, who attempted to cover up his sin with Bathsheba by arranging the murder of her husband Uriah. David feared the consequences he’d have to face if his sin came to light. It drove him deeper into sinful behavior (2 Samuel 11).
Think of Elijah, who after working so closely with God to take down Baal and his prophets, ran, fearing for his life after Jezebel threatened him (1 Kings 18–19).
Think of Jeremiah, who cried out to God, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child” when God told him He’d appointed Jeremiah to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5–6). He was afraid of the work God had for him.
Think of Peter, when he stepped out of the boat; he was fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. Then, he saw the waves around him and panicked (Matthew 14:22–33). And let’s not forget when Peter feared for his life and denied Christ three times, running away from the courtyard (Matthew 26:69–75).
Some of these illustrations of people from the Bible were legitimate situations to feel fear or panic (unlike most anxiety disorder situations). However, they still illustrate that big reactions to fear have been around for a long time. Our loving God cared enough to leave us these stories about people we can relate to, along with hundreds of verses encouraging us to trust God, not to live in fear. Our fear must be replaced with faith.
And thankfully, many of those people represented here who experienced moments of fear also moved on to have some amazing moments of faith. Some are even listed in Hebrews in the look back at the “Faith Hall of Fame.”
The above was excerpted from my book Finally Fearless. If you or someone you know battles panic, anxiety or fear, I hope my story can help you. To order copies of Finally Fearless, visit the links below that go to Amazon, where the Ebook version of the regular book and the paperbacks of both books are available.
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