Luke 21:25-26 tells us of men's hearts failing from fear and great distress in the nations:
"And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken."
We see this today. Many people's hearts are failing them from fear and anxiety. They are perplexed. But Isaiah 64:1-3 gives us hope:
"Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might shake at Your presence, as when the melting fire burns, as the fire causes the waters to boil,
to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came down; the mountains quaked at Your presence" (Isa. 64:1-3).
When God comes down, the nations tremble in His presence!
Right now, there are global challenges, and it's hard at times to know who or what to listen to or believe. We need to stop, look and listen to what God's Word says. We cannot be controlled by the institutions of men; we need to be under the lordship of Jesus Christ. But that's not going to happen if we don't listen to the news of the Lord and the report of the Lord.
"Even in darkness [difficult times] light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast trusting in the Lord. ...They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor" (Ps. 112:4-9, NIV).
Second Thessalonians 2 tells us that the working of Satan will come with lying wonders and that even God's people, if they don't keep a love for the truth, will be turned over to strong delusion. If we no longer have a love for truth, we can believe the lies of the enemy. The deceiver wants us to battle with fear and anxiety and stress. Like the Pied Piper, he wants us to follow his tune and not listen to the voice of the Lord.
That's why we must stay in God's presence. We need the power of corporate worship. There's something that happens when we get together as one and lift up His name. And when we get into the presence of a holy, holy, holy God, he changes the atmosphere. He changes our hearts. We can argue with our intellect or we can get in the presence of God and watch what He can do.
An Antidote to Fear
Dr. Edwin Louis Cole said, "Faith is believing those things you cannot see will come to pass. Fear is also believing those things you cannot see will come to pass." They sound alike, but they're totally different. Faith is from the kingdom of God; fear is from the kingdom of the devil. But how do we know the truth?
We have to love truth more than the things that we hear, more than our personal experiences and preferences. We need to remember that we are people of faith, not a people of fear. We're the people of God's kingdom, not the kingdoms of this world. So, the antidote to fear, anxiety and stress is getting into the presence of Lord and holding on to the promises from His Word.
"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Isa. 41:10, MEV).
That one verse says so much. I love what how Expositor's Commentary explains it: "Fear is common to man; increased by, if it does not originate in, a consciousness of sin. The text indicates three reasons why the Christian should not be afraid."
In other words, this verse is telling us to look at all the reasons why we should not be fearful:
1. God's Presence: "I am with you." He is powerful, wise and loving. He is with us no matter what's going on.
2. God's Relationship: "I am your God." These words imply, on our part, reverence, obedience and submission; but on His part, they imply guardianship and blessing. God takes care of what belongs to Him, and we are sons and daughters of the King. We are not just hirelings or servants; we carry a family name. We've been incorporated into the family of Christ.
Colossians 1:12-13 says, "giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled us to be partakers in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of His dear Son."
Because of Jesus, the Son of His love, we are part of God's family. We have an inheritance that comes not by force, but by inheritance through Jesus Christ. We don't have to be afraid, because God is our guardian. He wants to take care of us.
3. God's Promises:
— "I will strengthen you": He will fortify our hearts against trial and suffering.
— "I will help you": He will render to us personal assistance in our times of need.
— "I will uphold You with My righteous right hand": The right hand of His righteousness is faithful. It is the right hand of friendship. We shake hands (back when we were allowed to shake hands!) as a form of greeting or friendship. We lay hands to anoint and agree with God in His Word over someone's life calling. There is something about blessing with the hand of friendship and acknowledging with the hand. God says, "I am the one who extends to you My guardianship protection, provision and love." He will take care of us with His righteous right hand.
What is the antidote to anxiety and stress and fear? It's being in God's presence, acknowledging His relationship and remembering His promises.
Doug Stringer is the founder of Somebody Cares America and Somebody Cares International, with chapters, centers, partners, affiliate ministries and a global coalition and network of organizations and churches impacting communities through prayer initiatives, compassion outreaches, training and responding in times of crisis, as well as encouraging and equipping leaders globally. He is an internationally known author and communicator who speaks to thousands of leaders annually on topics such as compassion evangelism, persevering, courageous and transformational leadership, and community transformation. With more than 35 years in ministry, he has visited numerous communities and nations.
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