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Religion Column

October 22, 2011

Overcome everyday fears by putting your trust in God

The Bible says in Proverbs 29:25, "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be secure." Today people are afraid of so many things. As wars are being fought all over the world, it is only natural people should live in such fear. Fear of losing jobs, fear of getting sick, fear of running out of money, fear of what others think of them, fear of not fitting in, fear of terrorists attacks, fear of getting old: all these have contributed to a society where fear overwhelms so many.

People are afraid of being friendly for fear they will be taken advantage of, people fear picking up a stranger for fear of being harmed, people fear loving for fear of having their heart broken, and people fear the future because they do not know what is ahead. These fears are real and will not go away on their own. Some folks over the years have written on fear.

But listen to some of those "fear" sayings: The key to change is to let go of fear. Fear can keep us up all night, but faith makes one fine pillow. Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.

So how does a Christian respond to fear? Do we have to live in fear all our days, hoping God can somehow rescue us in the nick of time? Is the Lord someone strong enough to handle our problems? What is his peace process, and are we even included in it? If I come to Christ, will he remove all the hurts and pains of life, or does he give me a way to handle the problems of life with inner peace and security in him?

What is peace? It is not necessarily an absence of war, but a calmness in the soul. The word is used more than 400 times in the Bible. In the Old Testament the word "Shalom" was used. It meant completeness, soundness, well-being, or a restoration to wholeness. It could also mean material prosperity or physical safety. Peace in the New Testament carried the idea of reconciliation, peace with God.

The solution to peace is not found in man. Man's natural response in the time of trouble is to fight the enemy he sees. When fear comes internally, man will seek peace by working harder, playing harder, entertaining harder or escaping harder, hoping one of these ways will relieve the fear and bring about peace in his soul. We see the evidence of this in the utter insecurity that is rampant in our society. However, is this really the solution? Where can man find peace today? Jeremiah 17:5 says, "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength or arm, whose heart departs form the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited."

Psalm 20:7 states, "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."

The solution to peace is found only in Jesus. Jesus said to his disciples shortly before he died in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." God's prescription for true and lasting peace is found in Isaiah 26:3-4. "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength."

We see here God being the source of true peace. He is the One we must come to for peace in the soul. God promises complete peace for those whose direction in life is focused totally on him. The word "trust" means to throw myself down to the ground before him in total submission. I must realize he alone can fix me.

That is the honor he deserves. Why would I do that? Because he has everlasting strength. He never runs out of the ability to protect those who have turned to trust him with their very being. He is the foundation for peace. My mind and heart must stop and rest in his peace. I must realize that he alone can and will provide peace to my soul. The Apostle Paul speaks of this peace process in Philippians 4:6-7, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

God's active peace process is offered to all. It is only secured through complete trust in the one who alone can bring peace. We can either humble ourselves before the one true God of the universe and be protected with his everlasting peace, or we can worship at the altar of self pride and live in fear all our days. The choice is ours. What is our answer? Who will we trust?

The Rev. Steve Estes is pastor at the West Davenport Free Baptist Church.

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