Overcoming the Fear Factor with Trust and Praise

I praise God for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:4 (NLT)

Fear a four letter word that causes an intense emotion of impending danger whether real or imagined. How many times do we allow fear to conquer our lives simply because we lack trust?

Fear is often a very irrational response to an event that happens or could happen. What exactly are we afraid of? If we conducted a survey among people of the world we would most likely come up with a varied and long list of fears.

The television industry apparently thought so too and developed a reality T.V. competition series that aired with NBC from 2001 – 2006 and made a comeback in 2011 entitled Fear Factor. This entertainment show featured contestants who had to decide if they have the guts and determination to face their fears while competing against others who were doing the same. The factor of fear can only be overcome when you couple it with the factor element of trust. These contestants trusted that money they could gain would overcome their fear unfortunately it is only a temporary and unstable substitute that many find only disappoints them. I am not a television watcher and certainly not a fan of reality shows as I find them difficult to relate with and would like to think there is no amount of money that would cause me to do really stupid and dangerous things. I do however understand that to overcome fear there has to be a great element of trust.

I like to think I am in complete communion and trust with God. I would also like to think that I really do not have any fear because of my total trust in God. However early Thursday morning I realized that my actions do not reflect my words. I had a fear event. It was an event that was irrational, unfounded, and explained but one nevertheless that made my heart race, my breath become ragged, and my body temperature rise.

As Wednesday night crept into the early hours of the next day I was sleeping soundly dreaming away when suddenly I heard a loud crashing sound that mimicked breaking glass. I flew to my feet as did my cat that was lying at the foot of my bed. We both raced to the top of the stairs and I flipped on the lights. We then carelessly made our way quickly down the stairs as I continued flipping on lights as we went. We searched frantically for the source of the noise as my heart pounded loud enough that I could hear it and my breathing became short as it was trying to keep up with the beating of my heart. The cat’s fur stood up like a bristle brush as he was on watch stopping every few feet to look around cautiously. If this had been a movie the audience would have yelled to us not to come downstairs or go further as the music swelled into a loud crescendo but this was no movie, there was no audience, and we rushed in alarm with little regard for what we may find.

I felt for sure the noise came from the kitchen but didn’t see anything upon first glance and noticed that the cat was on alert and looking toward the studio. I tried to think rationally of what could have fallen in the studio to make such a noise besides the daunting possibility of a broken window with a crazed person standing on the other side. Yes, I know that is not very rational however even though I may not watch television much I have seen a movie or two and I have a very vivid imagination.

The cat very proudly stood back and allowed me to take the lead. I entered the studio with trepidation flipping on lights and searching frantically with my eyes as I went. I checked the windows, doors, and then lastly the darkroom. I found nothing. There was no broken glass, nothing seemingly amiss, and thankfully no crazed person. I was beginning to calm some but then thought the crash must have come from one of the other rooms and began to search again as obviously there was a loud crash. Could someone be hiding now just waiting on me to round the corner?

I came back to the kitchen this time turning on all the lights and still saw nothing until I reached the counter by the window. There lying in the basin of the sink was the culprit. A large golden-colored ceramic coffee mug lay on its side mocking my fear where it had jumped from the dish drain attempting but failing to meet its demise. I took a deep breath, laughing at myself, and my fear.

The cat had decided after his misguiding me to the studio he would have a snack and was calmly eating as if not five minutes ago we had both been awoken with a great fear that something bad had happened. I picked the mug up and sat it soundly on the counter so it could not make the leap again and trudged back upstairs trying to settle my racing heart and hoping to go back to sleep. I lay in the bed in the dark once again this time trying to rationalize my fear and determine why I reacted the way I did. I wish I could say I was going to protect my family but honestly if I had really ran into a crazed person I am not sure what my plan would be. Interestingly enough my family slept through the entire event.

My fear on Thursday morning was so irrational. I have never experienced a break in of my home or feared for my life, or my family’s life. My experience was simply the result of the fight or flight syndrome that God has built into us that keeps us from doing really stupid things like stepping out in front of a bus or threatening a wild animal with our hands. The experience however did show me the need to totally trust God and to know that no matter what evil I may run into depending on God is what I must do. The worse thing that can happen to us on earth by man is death but God controls our souls and our future in eternity. Eighty years give or take on earth will never compare time-wise to eternity so the worse thing we can ever do is not depend on God and not to trust Him with our future.

This week our focus verse found in Psalm 56:4 teaches us that because of the promises of God we can trust Him with our future and not be afraid of men.

I praise God for what He has promised. I trust in God so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? (NLT)

 The Trust and Fear Equations

To overcome fear we must begin with trust. Understanding trust can be looked at much like a mathematical equation. This is the Trust Equation God Style.

Trust Equation God Style

As we look at the trust equation we must factor in personal weighted expectations along with actual delivery of the expectations and divide those by how clearly we see and understand those expectations multiplied by real events seen and experienced not only personally but by other believers.

When we look at personal weighted expectations we are really discussing God’s promises. The number one expectation of God’s promises is generally thought of as eternal life. We could continue to count reconciliation with God through Christ, forgiveness of sin, strength, peace, help from God, God’s presence, answers to prayers, and the list goes on. In Touch Ministries does a great job discussing the Promises of God and I urge you to read and watch their online series on God’s Promises to learn more by simply clicking the underlined link. But for our purposes of trust if we will take the promises of God that personally reach out to us and multiply them by what we know and understand the actual delivery of those promises are we see that we are getting close to trust but for the doubting Thomas’s lets follow through with the equation for the blessed assurance of the Trust Product and to make sure that the product result is not skewed.

To understand exactly what the promises of God are they must be clearly defined. This we will find very simply written throughout the Bible in countless scripture verses. To guarantee we reach the product of trust multiply the perfect clarity of the scriptures by the reports and witnesses of other believers throughout the Bible, recorded history, present day miracles, answered prayers, and blessings received by all no matter what the socio-economic divisions are. Now we are ready to finish the equation to reach the full product of trust. So we take the product of the top equation and the product of the bottom equation and divide the two, the resulting product of all equals unrelenting trust.

So with all that trust why do we still have such fear? I have come to the overwhelming conclusion that we fear when we take our eyes off of Jesus. When we begin to look to the world for immediate answers, question why God would think we are worthy by looking at our past, or we try to outsmart God and take control of our future the result will often be fear. We become afraid when we see the world does not have the answers to our problems. We become afraid when we allow Satan to tell us we are not worthy even though the Bible tells us over and over we are. We cannot fathom that Christ through His love for us would suffer and die to save us. We become afraid when we move ahead of God attempting to control our future through the obsessed collection of materialist things, money, power, and other influences of worldly things. We must think and consider Jesus in significance and superiority. (Hebrews 3:1)

So how do we keep our eyes focused on God? I think praise is the dividing key.

Overcoming Fear with Peace
Peace Equation

When we take our worldly fears and multiply them against our trust in God and divide both with praise to God we will find the peace we need to overcome the fear of this world. We know that our ultimate destination will be to live with God and we are here on earth to glorify God learning the things we need to learn for the heavenly destiny we will ultimately be rewarded with. If we will keep our eyes focused on God we will be able to say as in Hebrews 13:6;

So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” (NLT)

When we experience fear we must stop and praise God because our focus has shifted from Christ and the heavenly kingdom to the earth. (Hebrews 12:2) It is during this moment of praise that we will find the peace we need to overcome the fear that has gripped us.

Have a great praise filled week!

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Post Script:

I have come to the likely conclusion that cats do not make good watch animals as a rule so I will be not only multiplying my trust against my fear but dividing my praises to God loudly the next time there is a crash in the dark.

What are Your Thoughts?

What are you afraid of? Have you experienced the gripping hold of fear? How have you overcome it? Where do you place your trust? Have you found peace and overcome your fear through praise. Join us in discussion.

How God is working through your life?