Line 1 from KJV
Line 2 from NCV
Italics are quotes of cross-reference
"God is our refuge and strength, therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling."
"God is our protection and our strength. He always helps in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid even if the earth shakes, or the mountains fall into the sea, even if the oceans roar and foam, or the mountains shake at the raging sea."
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
"The Lord is my light and the one who saves me. I fear no one. The Lord protects my life; I am afraid of no one."
2 Timothy 1:7
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind."
"God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control."
Hebrews 13:5-6 (contains Deuteronomy 31:6,8 & Joshua 1:5 & Psalm 118:6)
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such thins as you have. For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
"Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. God has said, I will never leave you; I will never forget you. So we can be sure when we say, I will not be afraid, because the Lord is my helper. People can't do anything to me."
1 John 4:18
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."
"Where God's love is, there is no fear, because God's perfect love drives out fear. It is punishment that makes a person fear, so love is not made perfect in the person who fears."
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
"Even if I walk through a ver dark valley, I will not be afraid, because You are with me. Your rod and Your walking stick comfort me."
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
"So don't worry, because I am with you. Don't be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with My right hand that saves you."
"Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west."
"Don't be afraid, because I am with you. I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us."
I thought I'd do a little research before I began. It's just the simple fact that God wanted me to look into "fear." Fear so often times grips us and it just feels like we're in a vise and we can't get out. The longer we live with this fear it inhibits breathing and it takes over our very lives from day to day. It could be different for everybody. I've got myself an active imagination so I sometimes experience fear when there is absolutely nothing to fear. I'm a worrier, going about my day worried about this or that. And one night I had a dream. It was strange but…it was real to me.
I think at the time, I was sleeping and my brother was playing video games in the next room and my brain picked up on the sounds of gunfire and bombs. But I was sleeping and it was like I was behind glass. Like nothing in the world could get to me but I could see everything as if I were right in the middle of it…it reminds me of a baseball dugout. You know those war movies where everything seems to be crash-bang-booming all around you? Yeah, like that. The fire was real, the guns were loud I couldn't hear a thing over all of it. And then I see someone just standing right in the middle of it. In the army garb with the pack and the gun in his hands. Brace yourselves…I couldn't…but I knew who it was. He stood tall, with squared shoulders, legs slightly apart, bracing for action. He paid no attention to the bombing and gunfire around him but looked up at the sky. Jets flew across it, big fighter jets that bring their sound trailing behind them. The soldier raised his gun high. To this day I don't know if it was of victory or defeat.
Then the world seemed to flash and my mind turned to a different scene. The gunfire continued but this time methodical. This time, one by one they went off in a gun-salute. A flag over a casket, folded and given to the mother of the soldier. Surprisingly I wasn't in the crowd of mourners, it being who I think it was. And the only part of the dream I can fully ever longingly remember was the incessant fear, nagging at my heart. It's like that too when you wake up from any dream. The images that you saw get kind of fuzzy and you sometimes can't remember what you dreamt at all…but you remember all too clearly how you felt. I've had other dreams of such, some that come to mind as I try to talk to God, try to get Him to reveal to me what the point of all of them are. There's one where there's a school shooting…I've told some people about this one, where everyone dear and true to me, even the ones that aren't supposed to be in school, get killed before my very eyes and…I'm the only one left alive. I think that one manifested itself after I watched a particularly scary movie, I'm not quite sure.
But we dream throughout our waking hours, don't we? Dreams that we fear will or won't come true. Like I said, I have a big imagination, a writer's brain, a big heart…like so many of my friends, I might add. And so then I get to thinking almost every single second, especially when I'm doing nothing but staring into space, of how and when and if my dreams will come true. Not the nightmares previously said, but the dreams, the ones that make my heart flutter. People that have seen a lot of broken dreams in their days, still have dreams to dream. As you grow those old dreams that once were, aspire to new dreams. When you finally get out of school you have dreams of a big career or an even bigger family. That could or couldn't happen whichever road you choose. Then once you get that family you've wanted your dreams are of your husband, your children, wanting them to grow and for you not to miss a single moment. And when your kids move away and you realize that you are going to miss some moments, there is going to be some lonely times, even if you have a loving husband. Your dreams change to that of those around you, that they will have the strength to make their dreams soar…without you.
So dreams can change, and along with them, fears. You could wake up one morning and be purposeful in what to do with your life and you may know that because of our Lord, everything will be just fine. And then there are those off days that you just can't seem to put your finger on anything and you just get so frustrated with yourself that you want to burst rather than run in circles. No matter how you try to dismiss it, it's a constant fear. And there are so many reasons to fear. Like, for me? I have a fear of spiders, insects, anything that creeps and crawls. I have a fear of little dogs…just the little ones, the big ones are no problem. The little ones are kind of tricky, you're afraid you'll either tick them off or squash them. Besides all the obvious and sometimes petty ones, I have a fear of rejection, the fear of being alone. I suppose that's where my little mass murder dream comes from…when I'm alone in the world. I have a fear of not being loved, of not finding love when I need it the most. Oh, my brain torments me with that one. I have a fear of losing those that are close to my heart, to have to live while they have died, to grieve when I should not have to be grieving. I have a fear of losing touch with friends and family, my life getting so haywire that I just lose touch of everything. That's also a part of my phase of wanting to stay a kid forever, never having to drive anywhere or get a job or pay taxes or go to college. There's also a fear of not being that person. You know, that person, the one that you see and look to when the chips are down and you've had your last run of poker. It's the person God has sent to be a shining light to someone. So many of us just want to be shining lights and we are just so fearful of not being that person that we often give up.
I could go on and on and on listing things that I'm afraid of…but that's just the whole point, now, isn't it? That I could go on forever with fear and doubt and things that plague my life that I can't go on forever the joys or blessings in my life. My sight doesn't reach that far, I guess. It was a shortcoming that I always knew I had but never really thought about until now. I always knew I was the shy type, that I wasn't going to be the one to speak to the multitude, that I was always going to afraid to do something. But I took it as sort of…a martyr's blessing. I looked at the positive side: God would use me however He saw fit, despite my shortcomings. That's a very admirable thing to think, I must admit. But what if God wanted to use me in that exact same way? What if He wanted me to be that one person that could lead or that could be an outgoing, friendly person? What if what God has planned for me outreaches anything that I ever had planned for my life? Well, I'm thinking those are dumb questions. Of course God outreaches everything that is in me, that's why He's the perfect one and I'm just me. Of course He would want my life to be that which it isn't because He loves me, right?
I'd be thinking at this point, as I've thought to God several times, what does this have to do with fear? I'm not afraid. There are scary things in this world but that's a fact of life, isn't it? And this emotional tug just exonerates the fact that I have emotions, however fried they may be at one point or another. But God gave me the dream and several times in my life I've felt this overwhelming sense of fear. Like I feel like I hear something that turns out not to be there but I think it's real and I get so carried away that I end up breathing hard and my heart feels like it's going to pop out of my chest. And even though it's nothing, I still pray, "God, help me, save me, what is wrong with me?" This time it was a dream that clearly wasn't real and I was up in bed thinking about it and I prayed for God to tell me what's the matter with me, pleading with Him to give me something, a good image to take away the fear. And it's like His spirit just drifted down and I felt like it was all around me. It was almost as if I was keeping that Spirit away from me for some reason…I don't know, I can't explain it. And then there was a whisper in my heart and it said, or rather, He said, "Why do you fear?" Childlike almost, as if fear were as foreign to Him as air to a fish. He's the one with all the answers and He's asking me why; something's messed up with that logic. But there still was an overlying peace in me at that moment. I was peaceful but I was unsettled at the same time. I was thinking about what He had asked me. Why do we fear? And so I began to think and write like I always do. And it occurred to me that I spend much of my time in fear and I don't really realize it. I spend most of my life spiritually clenched because I'm bracing for the blow, I'm waiting for life to hit me hard as it so often does, and I'm waiting for the chance when I can prove that I can make it. But is that what is intended, is that the way of life?
Think outside the box for a moment…step in, then step right back out, see what it feels like, the difference. All this time God has been molding me into what I needed to be inside myself. It's been a development of bonds, you might say. Imagine a puppet. He first has to be cut, this puppet, from wood. Ordinary wood, but hand selected for the perfect puppet. He must be carefully whittled away out to give him his shape, his personality. The personality of the puppet at first glance is his face, the angles in his puppety chin, the large starry eyes. It makes a child fall in love. Though created for greatness and the joy of a child's heart, the puppet is just sitting there. The creator looks at him and proclaims life into the puppet. So carefully and ever so meticulously, the puppeteer ties strings and joints to the legs and arms. He now has a puppet dangling from his strings connected together in a marionette's cross. Pick him up from the table, see how he moves.
It's a rather weird analogy, one of my weirdest. But I quite imagined myself as that puppet. I was very comfortable in my box, in my forest, as it were. But my Creator handpicked me for this task, this life. He told Himself, "This is My puppet." There was no puppet form to the tree, nothing in indication that said that THIS was a puppet. It could have been used as firewood just as easily, I suppose. But God came by and said that I was to be a puppet. Don't get the innuendo confused, this isn't about me being a literal puppet…just listen to the rest of the tale I spin.
Carefully He whittled away at me, making me who I am today, creating the heart and soul that is in me, the fire that is there still. With the paintings and beauty that is in His gracious hands, He painted me a personality in every aspect of my being. Even on the shelf, puppets aren't lifeless. They have the potential of life. And for most of my life I've sat on that shelf. Until one day my Creator and my Savior made ties of life, true life, that truly says I am His child. The strings act as all the relationships that I have, my mother, my friends, even my enemies. The world around me has no control over me and no more am I collecting dust. I have the bonds of love connected to that cross…the marionette's cross is my cross of faith, that of my Savior, Jesus Christ. And so, ladies and gentlemen, you have a puppet standing before you. God has picked me up off the shelf and has set my feet on the floor. Now comes the first step. I'm a simple puppet, made of wood, tied with string, and God is asking me to take that step of which I was made for. Out of the box enough for each of you?
In the spirit of creation and the Creator, I've tried to find a verse…and I have. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7. So many times we let fear cajole us out of making that first step. Like me…there are times in a persons life that they don't feel the best about themselves. I felt horrible about everything, everything was going down the tubes, no one at all would understand if I told them, everyone was out there doing way better than I ever could have done. When you read that over and over again, you find that those are pretty condemning words. They sound pretty finite and all-around dooming. Everyone, everything, no one. Oh let us cringe. But it's enough to say that I've been there. And I know how hard it is to get back. I know how hard it is to face the fact that, yeah, you screwed up, but yeah, God still loves you anyway. That's something hard to face when you so would love to stay in the belly of that whale and say "woe is me." It's more comfortable, at least you know where you stand. You're in a belly of a whale and you can't get out. There, that sounds pretty snug.
But who are we kidding? That's the fearful way out, and God simply did not make a spirit to be fearful, but one of power, love, and strong mind. And the Bible says again in 1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." Fear and love, they just don't mix. Just like fire and, well…a whale. Build a fire in the belly of said whale and he'll sneeze you out. It isn't easy when the big guy gets mad and chases you afterwards but…wait, no, what happens? The whale chases Pinocchio in the end right? Ok, I as a fellow puppet would love to stay in the belly of the whale. Free partially digested fish, shelter from storms, and the only problems you'll ever have is when the great whale gets indigestion. Haha, I crack myself up! No seriously that was an attempt to be funny, don't everyone laugh at the same time.
My point is that sometimes when we view the consequences of our actions like our teachers and parents have so skillfully trained us to do, it doesn't look so easy and it doesn't feel so appealing anymore. Not to mention there are those who are doing that exact same thing…but…better. It's so disheartening. I've been there, I know. But, you see, God didn't create us for all that heartache and strife. He didn't create our spirits to fear. Fear is human, it isn't something that we can wish away and not have ever again. Like I said, fears change…but God is always the same. "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10. And still the Bible tells us that no matter how much things can change, no matter how much things can rumble and roar, God will always be there, unchanged, bringing out the spirit of love that He created. "God is our refuge and strength, therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling." Psalm 46:1-3.
Again, you're saying, "Get the point!" Well, the point as I know it isn't yet formed in my head. God just asked me why do we fear, He didn't tell me to find out how fear works or to pick it apart and reverse the emotion. That wouldn't be for me to do. What He asked of me is why does one fear. I fear because I'm stressed. I'm really in a constant state of fear because of the fact that life isn't all peaches and cream. Not all champagne and caviar. Not all reason and rhyme. But what remains to be seen is that I fear because the world has conditioned me to fear. In waiting for the next big thing, you also get the next big problem, the next big blow of your stature however pretty the package. And it remains to behold that God did not create men to fear.
If this is what we have right now, if this fear is the lump we're given…how do you handle it? How do we get rid of it? You don't just get rid of fear, not by yourself anyway. Any magician could step up to the plate and not make fear just go away by magic. Like anything you really want in your life, it takes time. And it takes a Savior, a God. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing and…there is so much wisdom in it. Because in praying without ceasing you are in constant communication with God. All the things that worry you all the things that bring you joy, all the praises you have, the songs that you sing…they come right out of you. And the fears and worries that you have seem to glide right off your shoulders. The fear that life brings you, you take it and you offer it up to God. With that fear, comes out your true heart…because wherever your treasures lie, that's where your heart is. If you constantly build up and give those things to God, your true heart will be to Him and if you constantly give that fear away, it will be replaced with joy and confidence. I once had that joy and confidence and wisdom. And I'm working at having it again. The thing to remember is that each day is a new beginning. And sometimes we can't think of why we do anything in this world. Do we do it for ourselves or for others or for God? We do it for God…and God gives us a purpose in it. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. I know for me, the fact that others proclaim to have the same troubles seems to make me depressed because I kind of wanted to be by myself for once. But God has brought us together for a reason. Don't be afraid of anything...Christ has overcome it all before you and He hasn't asked you to do anything He hasn't done Himself. He goes before you in this world, sends others before you, and He is your rear guard…there is nothing to be afraid of. Suffice it to say that I still have things to work on as far as fear goes. But I'm never alone or powerless. The love and power around me encompassed in all the people that I know and all the things that I see comes from God alone.