When faith in God is exercised, fear is banished. Times of severe crisis certainly challenge our peace of mind. Adversity accentuates our lack of control and magnify the uncertainties of life. The word in the original language “phobeo” is the source of our English word “phobia.” There are phobias and therefore fears formed and shaped within us for about everything in life. And yet, through the exercise of our personal faith in God, we can rise above our fears and declare with the psalmist from where this quote is taken, “I will not be afraid.” This is a quote from Psalm 56:11. The context of this psalm is David fleeing to the Philistine city of Gath to escape Saul. In the beginning of the psalm, David is praying for God’s mercy and protection. As he engages with God, his faith is strengthened, and he affirms his trust in God’s care and eventual deliverance.
This act of David brings up an important point. Our faith is never strengthened and supported or encouraged when keeping our distance from God, but in fellowship with God. When we are out of touch with God, uncertainty about our relationship begins to creep into our lives. This result is true with any relationship in our lives. If we have been distant from someone for a while, our reconnecting with them is what brings about the assurances and affirmation that the relationship was as solid as we thought it was. This is why we should never lose our close connection with God. Nothing good ever comes from keeping our distance from Him. And it is only in engaging with Him continually that our fears can melt away and our faith and fearlessness be maintained. When we display a healthy fear of God in our lives, respecting and reverencing Him as we ought, then we also respect and reverence His word to us. We believe it, trust in it, and rest in it.
Frequently throughout His earthly ministry Jesus commanded His followers to stop fearing. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. So do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:28, 31). When we center our lives in God, there is nothing else we should fear. Fear is a response contrary to faith. Faith in God enables us to overcome fear or any other attitude that is contrary to one who believes in God. The apostle John writes about the overcoming power of faith in 1 John 5:4. “Because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith.” We can face any fear and overcome it when we fully trust in the Lord. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God! I strengthen you – yes, I help you – yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand!” (Isaiah 41:10) Whatever our future holds God is going with us and therefore we have nothing to fear. The Lord is near! He will never leave you! Walk in faith not fear. During crisis there is plenty of fear. What our world needs to see more of is faith, not fear.