“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
A friend’s sister had some serious phobias that kept her very close to home. The two women lived in nearby towns, but a bridge had to be crossed to get from one town to the other. That made it impossible for my friend’s sister to visit her. Another friend’s spouse fears flying. That means family trips of any great distance become difficult if not impossible. The tiniest of spiders will send another friend running and screaming (and I do mean itsy-bitsy spiders).
A speaker was ministering to a group of ladies when several in the group suddenly screamed and climbed onto their chairs, effectively stopping her message. She later said she wasn’t sure who was the most frightened — the women or the small mouse that had wandered into the room.
Most of us have suffered from some type of fear. Our heart pounds when things go bump in the night. Daytime noises, however, don’t seem quite as alarming. Some fears are quite common: snakes, heights, storms, darkness, water, and small spaces, just to name a few.
We may laugh at our fears, at least after the fact, but many affect us deeply. We fear the future. Will our job end? Will we lose our home? Will we or a loved one have a serious illness? Will we have enough money for retirement? What if we fail, are rejected, or lose the things we love most? The daily news only increases our anxiety. Is there any way to feel secure in insecure times, we wonder?
Exodus 14 relates a very fearful time for the children of Israel. After 430 years of slavery in Egypt, they are finally on their way to the Promised Land. Imagine their anticipation as they started on their journey. God led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
From Excitement to Panic
Their excitement soon turned to panic as they stood at the Red Sea knowing the chariots of Egypt were in pursuit behind them. There was nowhere to go. Verse 10 tells us, “So they were very afraid.” The people’s fear soon turned to complaints against Moses. Why did you do this to us? We would have been better off staying in Egypt as slaves. Now we are going to die!
The one person not fearful was Moses. Despite what seemed insurmountable obstacles, his faith remained strong. He instructed the people:
“Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today . . . The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:13-14).
Life will always bring problems. At times they seem to come at us from every side. When this happens, it is easy to allow fear to fill our minds. Like the Israelites, we see the circumstances but not an escape. Our instinct says, “Run!” But Moses told the people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. We must remember that God is willing to fight for us if we are willing for Him to take charge of the situation.
In Matthew 10:29 Jesus tells us that even a sparrow does not fall to the ground without Him knowing. He continued, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Fear does not come from God, but the remedy for fear does! He provides exactly what we need to conquer the fears in our lives that try to conquer us.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7)