How To Trust in God Even When We’re Afraid

Trusting God even when we're afraid

By now, I’m sure we’ve all heard or seen the news of the unprovoked and savage attack on the people of Israel by the terrorist group Hamas. This seems to be a regular occurrence these days. Almost daily in our world, evil reaches out its wretched hand and strikes at peace loving people who are just trying to get by in this world. It’s evidence of the place we currently occupy in the unfolding of God’s grand plan, and the fact that Satan knows his time is drawing to a close.

In addition to what plays out on the global stage, we also face daily struggles and situations that leave us feeling lost, confused, and many times downright fearful. Ask any parent what emotion it evokes when they drop their child off in front of a dormitory for the first time, in a different state than where they currently reside, and you’ll likely get a lot of the same answers. Or chat with someone on the unemployment line who hasn’t receive a paycheck in six months and their savings is down to just one more months’ worth of bills, and you will hear the fear in their voice. These situations and many like them can make us feel like there is no hope, so how do we trust God even when we’re afraid?

Lean Not on Your Own Understanding

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Fear is rarely the result of what we already know, but rather the result what we don’t know about a situation. It’s difficult to have trust without understanding. We trust in God because we understand His promises to be true. God’s promises come from scripture and scripture is the path to understanding. When we’re afraid, we need to immerse ourselves in the holy Word of God. Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” You see, God has not hidden anything from us, and in fact has laid out His plan for humanity and the ultimate hope that we have in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our savior. When we have this hope, it’s impossible to fear. We know the end from the beginning, and everything in between. Being a follower of Christ Jesus does not guarantee us a trouble-free life, but it does mean that we have a God who will walk with us through our troubles and comfort us in our time of need. In John 16:33, Jesus reminds 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.” Knowing scripture is a first great step towards understanding and peace, but because we were created to be in relationship with the Creator, we must then take it to the One who promised us that we will overcome.

Lay It All at His Feet

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Our God has broad shoulders. There’s not a burden that He can’t carry or a worry He can’t quell. He promises us peace that transcends all human understanding, but prior to that peace there is a qualifying statement. We’re instructed in all situations, by prayer and petition, to make our requests known to Him. You see, our God longs for relationship with us, but like the loving Father that He is, He also gave us free will to choose whether to pursue that relationship or not. He will never force our reliance on Him but will wait patiently for us to make Him Lord over every facet of our lives. Allowing Him access and dominion over all areas of our lives requires us to also trust Him with our worries and fears—to lay all our burdens down at His feet. This is the path to peace that stupefies all carnal understanding. As 1 Peter 5:7 implores us, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Only when we learn to come prayerfully before the Lord with all our concerns, thankful for His faithfulness and the truth of His promises, can we truly guard our hearts and minds in the hope we have through His Son. And when we do let Him reign in our lives, we’ll open up the floodgates of a powerful supernatural peace that flows through the presence of His Holy Spirit.

Let God’s Spirit Comfort You

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.

As Christ followers, even though life here on earth can sometimes feel lonely, we’re never alone. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God empowers us with His spirit, who comforts us in times of need. In Jesus own words, later in the same chapter of John, He promises, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” We have full and unbounded access to the Spirit of the Living God, to call upon in times of turmoil and trouble. Who can fear when the God of angel armies has set up shop in our own hearts? We only need to turn to Him when we feel panic set in, and whatever is causing us dread will be undone and dispatched. This is not to say that we will never experience feelings of fear and anxiety, or that we can’t grieve over catastrophic life-altering events that touch our communities, but as we work though that grief, the God of all comfort will empower us through His promises to experience peace that surpasses all understanding. Sometimes the Holy Spirit works directly in our own lives to provide that peace, and at other times he uses the people in our sphere of influence to reach us through a cavalry of comfort.

Phone a Friend

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Our God is a relational God. We know this because we see it in the triune relationship between the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit and because we feel it in the innate connectedness that all of humanity seems to be imbued with from birth until death. We weren’t created to do life alone, but rather in a series of relationships with other people that allow us to laugh together, grow together, heal together, and ultimately gain a sense of the sacredness of the relationship between the three members of the Trinity, God’s relationship with His creation, and that of Christ to the body of believers that we call His Bride. The human relationships in our lives are meant to wink at the divine, and as we grow in our relationship with Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we’re meant to take on Christ’s qualities of kindness, compassion, grace, and mercy as we seek to help each other through this life. Proverbs 18:24 tells us, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Whether we call it our group, community, or tribe, we need to find a circle of Christ centered individuals that we can call upon when the going gets tough and who we know will combat our fears and anxieties with the Word of God and sound theology. And while we’re on the topic of friendship, the greatest friend to humanity said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Remember How the Story Ends

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I’m going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.

Relationships are built on a foundation of trust and honesty. As we’ve seen, our God has not hidden anything from us. In Isaiah 46, he says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” Scripture is God’s plan for humanity, and in that plan, the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Trials and tribulations will come, but we have a God whose promises are true and who will be faithful until the end. Sin created a path for evil to enter in, but God provided the solution to our condition in the free gift of grace through His Son, Jesus Christ. The greatest friend to humanity laid down His life and snatched each one of us from the stranglehold of death, paving the path to eternity in the presence of our beloved God. We need not fear, because as 1 John 4:18 reminds us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” And God demonstrated His perfect love for us in that, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Jesus promised us that He has gone to prepare a place for us, and that promise should provide comfort to our troubled hearts. He is coming again, and when He does, He will take us to be with Him in a place where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” (Revelation 21:4) I long for the day when I get to see Jesus face-to-face, and I hope you do too. It’s a promise we can count on, and one that we can use to comfort one another in times of our most desperate need.

Comfort Others with the Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Galatians 6:2 instructs us to, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Anyone who has stood in a courtroom, even for just violating the speed limit, knows that laws are pretty serious. And if we’re meant to take human laws seriously, then the inviolability of God’s laws should be even more abundantly clear. We’ve already seen that we were created to be in community with one another, and as part of the communion that we share, we must care for each other’s needs. This is not meant to be a burden on us, but rather a blessing. God works in wonderful ways, and when we carry each other’s burdens, we’re reminded ourselves of the love and compassion of Christ. This should comfort us whenever we’re reminded of it, and thus the process of comforting and being comforted is cyclical. God comforts us not so that we can hoard it away and allow those around us to continue in their suffering, but so that we can comfort others and be comforted ourselves in the process. In this way, we truly fulfill the command to live as the body of Christ and to carry each other’s burdens.

Fear and anxiety are an inevitable component of living in a fallen world. The tragic consequences of sin can be seen in the evil that pervades modern day societies and, in our own lives, when we attempt to make a go of it apart from God. In addition to the effect that sin has in our lives, common tragedy is a part of the human experience, as well. We lose loved ones, relationships fall apart, our careers suffer setbacks, and sometimes the people we’re closest to hurt us. These events and more like them can bring us to a point of deep despair and cause dread over an uncertain future. But the beauty of God’s goodness and the power of His promise is that the burden of fear and anxiety can be transferred from our fragile and fallible hearts to His capable and caring heart. As Nahum 1:7 tells us, “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Through God’s Word, consistent prayer, and the power of the Holy Spirit we’re able to lay all our burdens at the feet of the One who’s known as the Prince of Peace. Then, as the God of all comfort provides us refuge from the fear and anxiety of life’s circumstance, we’re able to comfort others in their time of need. And the greatest comfort of all should be in the assurance we have through the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on a hill called Calvary, that all who believe “shall not parish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)


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