Q. Recently the topic of fear came up in a family discussion. I made the statement that it isn’t wrong to be afraid. (ie: night before surgery, facing a dangerous situation like cancer) What is wrong is if we allow fear to overpower us. Being fearful and stepping out in faith anyway shows our trust in God that he is going to do what he says. Can you help me back this up with scripture?
A. Fear is a common emotion we all experience, but it doesn’t come from the Lord. It’s a tool of the enemy. Our faith is meant to overcome our fears, and so whenever we feel afraid we should ask the Lord to increase our faith.
I’m reminded of how the Lord criticized Peter for allowing his lack of faith to cause him to sink when he tried to walk on water. As long as Peter stayed focused on the Lord he was successful. But when he saw how the wind was whipping up the water, he became afraid. He let his fear overpower his faith and began to sink (Matt. 14:28-31).
This is why Paul advised us to rejoice in all things, and be fearful of nothing. He said when we do that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:4-7). Learning to find something to rejoice about in everything that happens will increase both our love for the Lord and our faith in Him, because it will help us remember that He is working everything together for our good (Romans 8:28) As a result we’ll be able to find peace even in scary situations. Remember, perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).