A global pandemic.
Countries at war.
They all raced through my brain in terrifying succession as I lay in sleepless worry. A cold hand of fear gripped my heart, and a thousand different scenarios raced through my head, each one grimmer than the first.
I felt the crushing weight of responsibility for my family, mingled with the terrifying reality of how little I could actually control.
It’s hard to escape fear these days. Everywhere we turn, a new tragedy or price hike screams for our attention.
So what can we do as women of God to overcome fear in hard times?What can we do as women of God to overcome fear in hard times?
What the Bible Says About Overcoming Fear in Hard Times
Three truths about overcoming fear in hard times stand out from the Bible.
1. God is Still in Control in Hard Times
“God will bring this about in His own time. He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, the only One who has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light; no one has seen or can see Him, to Him be honor and eternal might. Amen.” – 1 Timothy 6:15-16 HCSB
God’s sovereignty doesn’t change based on our willingness to acknowledge it (Pr 19:21, Is 45:7).
As children of God, we can have unreasonable peace in hard times because we know that even tragedies that seem senseless have a purpose far bigger than what we can see right now since God is always in control.
But simply knowing something isn’t enough – you also need to act on that knowledge.
When standing at the plane’s open door 10,000 feet in the air, you can know that a parachute is securely attached to your back and yet still be paralyzed with fear at the thought of jumping.
To solidify your knowledge of the parachute’s security, you must step out into the air and let the parachute fulfill its promise to protect you.
God is like your parachute in the hard times of life.Simply knowing God is in control isn’t enough. You also need to act on that knowledge.
2. God is Still Good in Hard Times
“I said to Yahweh, ‘You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides You.’” – Psalm 16:2 HCSB
Every Christian has to wrestle with the question of God being good even through tragedy.
After all, what God would allow innocent children to be gunned down in the schools that are supposed to teach and protect them?
What God would allow the amount of suffering and death we’ve seen in the past few years?
The simple answer is that God’s goodness is not dependent on our approval of His decisions.
As humans, we automatically want to define God’s goodness by our standards. But that’s not how God works!
He can see so much more than we can and has plans far beyond our ability to see or understand.
Part of our calling as Christians is to trust in God’s goodness even when we don’t understand it.God can see much more than we can, and has plans far beyond our ability to see or understand.
3. God Doesn’t Owe Us an Easy Life
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13 HCSB
Many of us have become lazy Christians. We claim God’s promises for prosperity while conveniently ignoring His promises to be with us during trials.
Just look at the Bible – hardly any of the people God chose to tell us about in His Word had an easy life.
- Esther lost almost her whole family and was forced to marry a stranger.
- Daniel was taken from his home into captivity.
- Joseph was sold into slavery and unjustly thrown in jail.
- Paul lived a life filled with persecution, danger and pain.
- Job lost his children, his health, and all his belongings.
Those are just a few examples.
As terrifying as these times are, they haven’t taken God by surprise. Quite the contrary, they are actually part of His plan.
He can see so much more than we can and has plans far beyond our ability to see or understand.Hardly any of the people God chose to tell us about in His Word had an easy life.
3 Ways the Bible Can Help You Overcome Fear in Hard Times
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” – Romans 8:15 HCSB
In the same way, we must follow our knowledge of God’s sovereignty and goodness in hard times by taking action to trust Him.
Here are three practical ways to do that.
1. Don’t Allow Negative News to Consume Your Thoughts
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2 HCSB
What we allow our minds to dwell on will dominate our actions, influence our perceptions, and dictate our emotions.
If we let ourselves constantly consume and think about negative news stories, we will react to life from a place of fear rather than faith.
This will often mean that you need to limit or even completely avoid time spent watching the news or on social media.
Your mind will dwell on whatever thoughts you’re constantly feeding it. So feed it Scripture instead of newsreels.
Here are just a few good Scriptures with which to start.
- John 14:27
- Matthew 6:34
- Psalm 34:4
- Psalm 27:1
- Psalm 56:3-4
- 1 John 4:18
- John 16:33
- 2 Timothy 1:7
- Romans 8:35
2. Replace Fearful Thoughts with Faithful Thoughts
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.” – Philippians 4:8 HCSB
Not allowing your mind to dwell on fearful thoughts is a good thing, but it’s not enough to overcome fear on its own. You also need to replace fearful thoughts with faithful ones.
What tends to spark the most fear in you? Is it walking down empty grocery store aisles, watching the news, or talking with a certain person?
What practical steps could you take to fill those moments with faith rather than fear?
Maybe you can begin intentionally thanking God for His provision as you place food in your cart, even if it wasn’t the exact kind or brand you wanted.
Try listening to worship music instead of the local radio station on your daily commute.
Write down Scripture verses that directly combat fearful thoughts and put them in prominent places around your house, such as your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, or your computer.Not allowing your mind to dwell on fearful thoughts is a good thing, yet you also need to replace fearful thoughts with faithful ones.
3. Avoid Excessively Talking About Fearful Things to Others
“Lord, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.” – Psalm 141:3 HCSB
Just because you’re being honest doesn’t give you an excuse to complain or wallow in negativity. Fear feeds on dragging others down with it.
It’s a good thing for Christians to ask for prayer, honestly admit struggles, and encourage each other in faith.
Don’t let yourself fall into fearful complaining under the guise of honesty.
Faith doesn’t mean burying your head in the sand and pretending that everything is ok when it’s not.
Faith means living from a place of peace and trust that makes you ok even when, by the world’s standards, you shouldn’t be.Don’t let yourself fall into fearful complaining under the guise of honesty.
We Don’t Need to Borrow Fear From Tomorrow
“Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34 HCSB
When I was lying in bed that night worrying about everything that could go wrong, I was borrowing fear from tomorrow. Jesus directly commanded us not to do that.
The truth is that today I can feed my family. Today we are healthy and safe. I’m choosing now to live in thankfulness and enjoyment of the blessings God has given me today.
If greater troubles come tomorrow, God will give me the grace I need to face them then. But I refuse to lay awake one more night in fear over a future that was never mine to control.
So the next time fear threatens to keep me awake at night, I will pray. Then I will put in my earbuds and listen to hymns of praise, flooding my mind with worship rather than worry. What will you do?
– Lieren Jamrozik
Lieren Jamrozik is a Jesus-loving girl living her childhood dream as a wife and mother. She has a passion for helping women delight in the days they have with their little ones. Her favorite things include getting lost in a good book, singing in the car, spontaneous adventures, and anything chocolate. Follow her on her blog, Pinterest, and Facebook.