Thursday, February 20, 2020

Responding to Fear

Thursday, February 20, 2020
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? Psalms 56:3-4

Doctors agree that emotional stress can bring actual changes in the organs, glands, and tissues of the body.  It’s not so much "what I’m eating" as "what’s eating me" that’s getting me down.
What are the responses of people when afraid? 
  • Frozen in fear 
  • Retreat to a safe place 
  • Blame others 
  • Believe the worst 
There is no doubt that it is our faith and trust in God which is necessary to save us, but trust requires training. 
Training Means Discipline
Faith is all about training.  It is like muscle memory. Wikipedia defines muscle memory as a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition.  When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. Basically it becomes something you just do automatically without having to think about it.  If we have to stop and think about the situation we are in then most likely faith will not be our first response.  After all, if I am going to skydive or jump off a cliff, if I stop at the edge and think about it, I am probably not going to jump. I would just have to close my eyes and take the leap. Faith requires that we just believe and don’t stop to think about or second guess.  Just take the leap.
Training implies positive change.  Anytime we train something, we are making it better or stronger.  Training our hearts and heads to trust in God is the requirement for fruitful service to His kingdom. When we train our entire being to have faith in God, the giants of this world fade away from our sight because our eyes are fixed on Him.  Belief is an act of the mind, trust is an act of the heart, and obedience is an act of the will and all require training.
We don't often talk about the risk of faith, but there is risk involved. Faith is a gamble we take because we believe when we don’t know what the outcome will be, good or bad.  If we have faith, then we have to believe that whatever happens happens because it is part of the plan.  That is not always easy to swallow.  Jesus talked in terms of losing one's life in order to save it. That kind of talk is not for timid souls. You and I both know that there are some people who would never willingly lose their life. They are always trying to minimize their risks.
Fear, they say, is False Evidence Appearing Real.
A sad event which was caused by fear occurred at the zoo in Omaha, Nebraska sometime back. Twenty-three wallabies died after stray dogs got into the zoo one night. Ironically, the dogs were unable to get inside the wallaby enclosure. But they didn't have to: the wallabies died from internal injuries suffered while crashing into the fence and one another. They were literally scared to death. Twenty-three wallaby carcasses, including fifteen adults and eight babies, testify to the consuming strength and intensity of fear.
That is such a sad story.  Fear can make us believe things that are not real. It can consume our thoughts and send us right over the edge. We usually create a false reality that is so much worse than the truth.  It is imperative that we overcome fear before it overcomes us.

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NASB 

Devotional Archive