Paralyzed by Fear


Photo by Santiago Lacarta on Unsplash

 Psalms 34:4  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Do you remember when you learned to swim? I was five years old. My parents had a pool in our backyard in Riverdale, GA. Like many kids, my parents wanted to teach me and my siblings to swim and how to be safe around the pool. I can remember one of the first times that I was in the pool without floaties. I was excited and terrified all at the same time. Yet, I also knew I was safe because my Dad was right there with me. Even though I felt like I would dip below the water, my Dad made sure that I was safe and protected. I, as a father, now have the same responsibility with my children. As a five-year-old child, I had a choice to make: trust that my Dad would keep me safe, or live in fear of the water and not learn how to swim. 

            With everything going on in our society today, it can be easy to respond with fear and not want to resume daily activities. However, we as believers need to remember that we have a Heavenly Father who is looking out for our every need and that whatever trial comes into our lives is for our benefit. We also need to remember the promise of Jesus from John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” We can become paralyzed by fear of the unknown, or we can trust God and live the victorious life He has called us to live.

            Scripture gives us examples of those who lived in fear and missed out on the blessings and victory God had promised them. In Hebrews 3:17-4:1, the example of the Israelites who came out of Egyptian captivity is given to the reader. Their fear first caused them to be insubordinate in their actions. Verse 17 says, “But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?” God was displeased with them because they allowed fear to keep them from obeying the command of God to go into the promised land. They should have obeyed yet they did not because of fear. Anything less than obedience in the face of the unknown is sin.

            Secondly, their fear immobilized them. Verse 19 says, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Not only did they disobey God, but they were prevented from moving forward because of their fear and unbelief. Fear enlarges the obstacles in front of us and keeps us from doing what God has called us to do. Does God know what He is doing as it relates to our situation? If He does, then we can trust His plan and move forward into the unknown. God has never failed!

            We know that we should never fear obedience to God. We must understand that what He has commanded us to do in His Word can be obeyed without fear. Hebrews 4:1 tells us, “Hebrews 4:1  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” We should fear falling short of what God has set before us because of fear and unbelief. We should fear faithless disobedience. Unlike the generation that passed away during the wilderness wanderings, we have the opportunity to respond in faith. God is calling believers to walk confidently, to follow and obey His calling in the face of the unknown. Even as we follow Christ who overcame the world, may we remember the Apostle John’s words in 1 John 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. May each of us continue to walk by faith in the One who saved us, our Lord Jesus Christ!