Joe went to a psychiatrist for a problem that had plagued him for years– fear that someone was under his bed at night.
“Doc,” he pleaded, “You’ve got to help me. I’m going crazy. I can’t get a good night’s sleep.”
“I can cure you in 6 months,” said the doctor. “If you will come 3 times a week, I will rid you of your fears.”
“How much do you charge?” asked Joe.
“$150 a visit.”
“I’ll think about,” Joe replied.
Six months later the psychiatrist saw Joe on the street and asked, “Why didn’t you come back to see me?”
“Oh, I went to another doctor,” said Joe, “and he cured me in one visit for $100.”
“Really? How did he do that?”
“He told me to cut the legs off my bed”
What are you afraid of?
Caty Medrano published an article called the “Top 10 Strong Human Fears.” She explains them in detail, but they’re pretty self-explanatory.
Possibly #9 and #10 would be toward the top of the list today with the current crisis caused by the global pandemic of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
People are afraid of the unknown. Things are changing so quickly, that it seems the only constant is change. We like to be in control. To have our personal freedom to do what we want. Go where we choose. And live as we please. However, all of our choices have been removed by governing authorities due to an unseen, yet deadly virus.
In addition the constant reminders from health experts, talking heads on cable TV, and news conferences by our political leaders remind us daily, if not hourly, of the health threats we face.
In one of the great texts of the Bible, as the children of Israel embarked upon the conquest of Canaan, they faced the unknown and a formidable foe. Thus, Moses encouraged the people not to be afraid but to trust in God.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Consider these admonitions from this 3,400 year old verse and how they apply to our present distress.
(1) Be strong.
Our strength is in the Lord. This is a constant theme in both the Old and New Testament. Through the avenue of prayer, Bible study, and meditation, we can find the strength to overcome our fears, whether real or imagined. Spiritual strength empowers us to conqueror our adversaries, overcome temptations, endure adversity, and face the unknown.
(2) Be courageous.
While God provides the strength, we must muster up the courage. One poet put it this way, “Courage must come from the soul within. Man must furnish the will to win.” Henry Van Dyke defined courage this way: “It is the standing army of the soul which keeps it from conquest, pillage and slavery.”
Courage is an inward strength, founded of faith, fed by God’s Word and fostered by prayer. It steadies us when others are uneasy. Calms us when those around us are troubled. And provides perspective when the vision of so many is obstructed with fear.
(3) Be aware of God’s presence.
Wherever we are, God is there. Whatever we face, God is there. Whoever opposes us, God is there. However tough the challenge appears, God is there. Whenever we feel fear, God is there. Like the Psalmist David, I am assured that I’m always “in His presence.”
(4) Be assured of God’s faithfulness.
“God is faithful” penned the apostle Paul. Sometimes I’m not. Sometimes our friends fail us. Occasionally a brother may let us down. Sadly a loved one may reject us. Or refuse to stand by us in a difficult situation. And we may feel that at a time of national crisis our leaders have failed us.
Not God. He will not forsake us. He will not fail us. He will not forget us.
“Of whom shall I be afraid?” is a fair question to ask.
When we can confidently affirm that “the Lord is my light, my salvation and my strength,” then the answer is easy. (Ps 27:1)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman