There are few sins more tempting than the sin of anxiety, though it’s doubtful that we view it that way. It’s more common to view fear and anxiety as things that strike us. How many times have you heard the phrase, “He was struck by fear”? But just because something strikes us doesn’t mean we have to stay stricken. When fear strikes us, God’s love strikes back. I find that incredibly hopeful!
When Fear Strikes Us, We Can Freeze
When I was around eight years old, I had a terrifying experience. My family was getting ready to leave my aunt’s house after a visit, and my dad had started up the rental van. It was very cold out and the engine needed to warm up. I was in the van with my six-year-old sister and four-year-old brother. Everyone else was in the house still saying their good-byes. That’s when I noticed that the van was gently rolling backwards down the driveway.
When fear strikes you as hard as it struck me in that moment, it’s hard to breathe, let alone think. My brother was already buckled into a car seat and it didn’t occur to me to try to get him out of it. I told my little sister to stay with him and I jumped out of the van and ran to the house, screaming for my dad.
The van was fast approaching a steeper drop in the driveway, only a few yards from a well-traveled road. My dad came out, saw the van, and took off after it so fast that his wallet flew out of his back pocket. He reached it in time and saved my brother and sister. Turns out, the emergency brake on the van wasn’t working. That’s pretty much the scariest moment of my life. My brother and sister could have died and it would have been my fault. My brain froze and I couldn’t think clearly. God was so merciful to me that day!
This is an example of fear at its most dramatic and overwhelming. But that’s not the fear that stalks us on a daily basis.
When Fear Strikes in the Form of Anxiety
Anxiety is the Chinese water torture of fear. Can I pay my bills this month? Drip. Will my car run out of gas? Drip. Did I offend my client and lose his account? Drip. Am I going to fail this test? Drip. Drip, drip, drip. When fear strikes as anxiety, we don’t even always recognize it for what it is. I think most of us would call anxiety ‘normal,’ not fear.
Martha’s Message of the Month, Anxiety: It Is Finished, is an amazing testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness to deliver us from fear in all its forms. I have had such a move of the Spirit in my life since listening to it! And one of the biggest exposures of the Spirit is how helpless I felt about fear.
I didn’t realize that I was reacting to anxiety the same way I reacted to the fear I felt that day in the van. I froze. The Spirit took me back to that day and showed me that I was ruled by fear and guilt. All I saw was everything that I’d done wrong. He asked me to see a child and have compassion for her. Then He asked me to see the Father’s great heart over it all. God saved us all that day. He was there! It wasn’t a story about fear; it was a story about His faithfulness and protection. His exquisite, unbearable LOVE.
When Fear Strikes, LOVE Strikes Back
Fear has struck and will strike us all. But when fear strikes, we don’t have to stay stricken. Whether it’s terror or low-level anxiety, we are not to be ruled by fear. I have indulged anxiety in every area of my life and thought nothing of it. But I am not my own. I belong to Jesus Christ and HE rules, not fear.
He is so faithful to strike fear wherever it strikes me. Fear is no match for His love. Anxiety: It Is Finished reveals the incredible solution to fear and stress, and the Holy Spirit will anoint it for your life. I know, because that’s what He’s done for me. When fear strikes me, I don’t have to freeze. Jesus commands me not to fear, and He provides the means for my obedience. I’m not stuck, I’m not alone, and neither are you.
I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4 HCSB