When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. Psalms 56:3-4 NIV
Earlier this week, Janice and I watched a National Geographic documentary, Free Solo, in which rock climber Alexander Honnold ascends El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. After much planning and several practice runs with safety gear to determine the best route, he successfully scaled the 3,000-foot rock face using only his fingers and toes in less than 4 hours. I can tell you, as someone fearful of heights, I found it dizzying and hard to breathe just watching.
A few years ago, United Methodist pastor and writer Adam Hamilton wrote a book titled Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times. He defines fear in two ways.
The first is False, Events, Appearing, Real. He concedes that all fear is not false and that some fear is healthy. For example, moving out of the way of a speeding car, or avoiding rock climbing, are health fears. However, there are many things that we are afraid of that are unfounded and unhealthy.
However, there are many things we may fear without reason. These can become unhealthy obsessions and hinder us from living life fully. Hamilton offers another acrostic as followers of Christ we can take comfort in:
Face your fears with faith.
Examine your assumptions in light of the facts.
Attack your anxieties with action.
Release your cares to God.
Many scriptures in the Bible give us the assurance that God is always with us to face our fears with faith. Here are just a few:
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. Psalms 23:4
This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble. Psalms 34:6
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6
Father, Sometimes our fears and anxieties seem too much to bear. Our worries and burdens become so overwhelming we don’t know what to do; it seems Satan is throwing up all kinds of obstacles we feel inadequate to handle. Father, please help us remember you are always there for us in those times. Aid us in finding solace in your words; turning to you in prayer, may we experience your compassion and comfort. Amen.
Hamilton, Adam. Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times. Convergent Books, 2018.