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 doing fine. But when he became distracted by the wind and the waves, 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 that surpasses human understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:4-7).
Learning to find something to rejoice about even when we’re afraid 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), and His love is perfect. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we should fear no evil for He is with us. His rod and His staff will comfort us (Psalm 23:4).