By: Cheri Fuller
"Just as saving faith comes through hearing the gospel, so also the faith to trust God in adversity comes through the Word of God alone. Only in scripture do we find an adequate view of God’s relationship to and involvement in our painful circumstances. Only from the scriptures, applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, do we receive the grace to trust God when we are afraid."
The Lifeline of God’s Word
Every time we open our Bibles, we encounter the Living Word, verses which are God-breathed truths meant to break us free from worry, from fear, and anything else that would hold us in bondage (John 8:32). His truth brings us out of old patterns of worried, anxious thinking and helps us fight the good fight. We certainly can’t fight these powerful emotions in our own strength, wish them away, or hope they will go away if we think positive thoughts.
Grace’s world changed suddenly at age eight when she was sexually assaulted by two distant relatives at a family reunion. Threatened with harm to her and her family, she kept silent, and the emotional devastation continued into her adult life. She was so afraid of people that she withdrew and spent most of her time alone. She didn’t get too close to any males, worried the abuse would happen again. She was distrustful of God, and she didn’t even trust herself. She eventually surrendered all hope of knowing freedom or joy again.
Yet Grace continued to be a seeker. She wanted so badly to break through the walls that kept her isolated and afraid. One morning she was reading in John 11 of Lazarus’s resurrection. Jesus called to Lazarus to come out. Then He told observers to take off Lazarus’s grave clothes (vv. 43–44). In that moment, God spoke to her heart: “Grace, come out. Let others take the grave clothes. Be free.” She wept that morning as she knew that God was asking her to trust others to help her. For the first time ever she told someone—her best friend—what had happened, and they wept together. Her friend’s compassion freed her to experience God’s love and acceptance and allow others into her life.
Realizing how bound she was, she asked God to send someone to help her take steps toward freedom. Soon after, she met a lay counselor at church. As she shared her life story, the friend began to lead Grace through Romans and Psalm 18. She taught her biblical truth about her position in Christ and the power of the cross in daily living. God’s Word became a light in her darkness as she learned to stand on its authority.
One by one, she confronted the lies she’d believed about God, herself, and others with biblical truth and started seeing changes. Although she knew nights would be scary, she decided she could live alone. She could travel alone for business if necessary and even be out after dark. She didn’t have to use being overweight as her armor anymore. She could trust people’s intentions toward her, reclaim her voice, and stop being a people pleaser.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (NIV), but Jesus came that we “may have life, and have it to the full.” Worry and sadness had stolen years of Grace’s life, but God’s promises gave her the courage to wage war against it. Finding a counselor and asking others to pray for her helped her come to a new level of freedom. Grace still struggles with fear and weight, but she’s resolved not to allow it to hold her down. It takes effort on her part to choose, believe, and live out biblical truth. But even when she struggles, she is confident that:
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2 NIV)
With such a God and such powerful truth, fear cannot overcome her.
One of the best things Grace learned to do is to replace the worried thoughts that kept her up at night with truth she was learning as she grew in Christ, like these:
If you’re suddenly diagnosed with an illness and a wave of fear and anxiety floods your mind, thoughts like you’ll never be able to work again and support yourself or your kids with the limitations you’ll face, that you’re so weak you don’t know how you’ll cope, or that this illness slipped by God’s watchful care, it’s vital to focus on the Word.
Instead of letting those troubling thoughts roll through your mind, believe and meditate on the truths: that God will supply all you need (Philippians 4:19); and regardless of the health issues, you are strong in Him (Joel 3:10); and He has given you all you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). That He is your Great Physician, Jehovah-Rapha, the God Who Heals, and is well able to take care of your physical needs (Exodus 15). That you belong to Christ (1 Corinthians 3:23) and nothing happens apart from His affectionate, watchful care of you (1 Peter 5:7).
As you displace your worries with God’s Word, you will be filled with a new confidence and hope. As you read through specific worries in the chapters ahead, you’ll find scriptural truths that relate to them.
© 2015 by Back to the Bible.
“From Replacing Worry for Wonder, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”