What do you do when you’re afraid?

Recently Roman and I were having a conversation about fear. We have memorized several verses on the topic so as I addressed those, Roman blurted out, “You can’t tell me it’s all going to be OK because I believe God! I mean it’s all over the Bible—stories of people who got hurt even though they loved God.”  At ten, he has already slammed into the realization that bad things happen—sometimes to people who are trusting God. And he is faced with the dilemma of the ages, “How can a good God who says he is trustworthy, allow bad things to happen?”

Starting from the premise that God is good and he is trustworthy, I attempted to remind Roman that no matter what bad things happen in this life, God has already corrected the worst “bad thing” so that when we die we will get to be with him. I reminded Roman that only in this life are there dangers and troubles. Only in this life can we be hurt, broken, and traumatized. Unfortunately, the idea of eternity is a bit ethereal for his ten-year-old mind. (And often for me and my much older mind.) He wasn’t convinced that the promise of eternity was enough to allay his fears in this life. So he said to me, “Mom, what do you do when you’re afraid?”

“I pray.” I told him. “I pray and tell God all the things I know are true from His Word. I say to him, ‘I know you have not given me a spirit of fear. You have given me love and, power and a sound mind. Please let me feel your love and power instead of this fear.’ And I remind myself that God is greater than Satan, that God has a good, eternal plan for me. All the things I tell you to do when you are afraid, are the things I do.” I assured him.

Later that day, I was looking into some recent information on sex offender residency restrictions and other laws that apply to sex offenders. I felt the fear rising in me as I read articles and researched these restrictions. We don’t know when Joel will be off probation and he may never be off the registry list, so these are issues that will affect us for the rest of our lives. My anxiety was on the rise, as were my feelings of resentment. Suddenly God brought back to my mind the things I had told Roman about what to do when you’re  afraid. A verse I recently memorized says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…” The picture I get of catastrophic geological collisions, matches the mental and emotional picture I sometimes imagine regarding our lives. This verse gave me courage to say,  “I will not fear, because God is my refuge and strength.” This earth may collapse—indeed one day it will. But my God has a plan that goes beyond this life, beyond this earth and its current systems. “Therefore, I will trust and not fear…”
What do you do when you’re afraid?

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