Summer is a season that I have always looked forward to coming, whether in school or not. Granted, I do not relish the heat and the sweat that comes from just walking outside the door (at least in New Orleans!), but I do look forward to the promise of new adventures that summer can bring. I also look forward to the change of pace and schedule that allows for new possibilities of what God wants to teach me. Perhaps you are looking forward to summer so that you can finally get some rest! Or perhaps you are graduating or transitioning to a summer ministry opportunity. Either of those possibilities can be both overwhelming and exciting at the same time. New adventures can also bring with them new fears about the unknown. So what do you do when facing fear about what’s next?
As I have continued to seek the Lord in the area of practicing faith over fear (and believe me…I’ve had lots of practice!), I have come to realize that the Bible talks a whole lot about fear. In fact, the Bible mentions fear in terms of being afraid of something well over 100 times. So today I want to offer some encouragement to you from some of my favorite verses:
1) Run to the Lord with your fear
Psalm 34:4 reminds us that God will deliver us from our fears. He may not remove the frightening circumstance, but He will help us through it. He provides us the peace that we need to face any situation. In John 14:27(CSB) Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or afraid.”
2) Refuse to give in to fear
One of my favorite verses about fear is tucked into a whole discourse about women. In 1 Peter 3:3-6 Peter speaks to women about focusing more on inward character than outward behavior. Then at the end in verse 6, he reminds women not to give in to fear. It’s easy to become fearful when we are trying to be in control. When I am trying to be in charge, I can easily find myself on the “What If” train. What if this happens…what if that happens…and on and on and on. The problem with jumping on the “What If” train is that it’s really hard to get off. It’s better just not to get on in the first place. Walking by faith requires that we refuse to give in to fear and instead choose to allow God to be in control. It’s a continual process of choosing to trust that God is working everything out for our good.
3) Choose to walk in faith not fear
Psalm 112:7(CSB) tells us, “He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the Lord.” Over and over in scripture, God reminds us that He is with us when we face fearful circumstances. In Isaiah 41:10 (CSB) God says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.” How can it get any better than that? To think, the God of the whole universe holding our hand?
So I just want to encourage you today not to let fear keep you from acting in faith to whatever God calls you to do. It could be that this summer He has a new adventure waiting for you if you take a step of faith.
Dr. Emily Dean serves as the Director of Women’s Academics and Organizations at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.