Faith Over Fear
I’ve heard this mantra over the past couple of months. Maybe you’ve heard it too: facts, not fear.
At first it seemed comforting and logical. Yes, let’s arm ourselves with lots of facts, gather numbers and statistics, then make lots of scientific-sounding comparisons. I don’t know about you, but for me sometimes, the more facts I’ve gathered the more confused and fearful I’ve become.
The problem is that this situation is “novel”. Here’s how Merriam-Webster.com defines novel (adjective) in the context of medicine:
1 a: new and not resembling something formerly known or used
b: not previously identified
2: original or striking especially in conception or style
Honestly, I believe even the experts are dumbfounded. Their directives and decisions seem to change nearly daily. Not, in my opinion, because of deceit or incompetency, but because this thing is novel. They are adjusting to and incorporating new information as fast as they receive it. They have never been in this uncharted territory before either. So, when the experts change the narrative daily, and we are not receiving news of a certain and predictable future we want, we begin to spin.
So many people are understandably frustrated, and many have woven these facts, numbers, statistics into speculation that is not scientifically supported. I get it. We are all trying to make sense out of this novel situation. In an attempt to ease our fears and create a sense of control (and control is always just an illusion), we feel like we have to have answers. So, we start spinning – grasping and thrashing about mentally and emotionally trying to make sense of things, get answers we “need”, and achieve that illusive sense of control we want. And spinning is usually unproductive and leads to dizziness (confusion).
As a therapist, I’ve seen people who are usually well-grounded getting anxious, and anxious people getting down-right paranoid. While being informed is a necessary thing, we all need to be aware of when that search for answers turns into a need for control. When it moves from being informed to needing to control the narrative or predict the future, we’ve moved away from trusting God. It’s a delicate balance, for sure.
But here are a couple of things I am absolutely positive about. Are you ready?
God is still in control.
God is not shaken.
God is not taken by surprise.
And, to God, this thing is not novel.
Time after time when mankind has faced novel situations and just plain old everyday fears, God has been present and a comforter when He has been called upon.
Psalm 56:3 (NLT), “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” This was penned by King David when he had been seized by enemies. I’m sure to David, things did not look or feel good or comforting. His words are some we can call upon and pray when the statistics do not make sense, numbers do not seem to add up, facts and propaganda feel overwhelming, the narrative feels untrustworthy, and we do not know what the future holds.
When I am afraid, I will put my trust (faith) in you. (emphasis and interpretation mine)
This requires a few things:
1. Believing that God is trustworthy; that His character is good, and He is for me and my good.
2. Recognizing that I am fearful/anxious/fill-in-the-blank.
3. Choosing to change my focus from fear to faith.
4. Decide to trust God. Making the object of my faith God’s character and goodness rather than what I see with my eyes, what my feelings might dictate, or what the circumstances might suggest – because all of those data points are less reliable than God.
We do not have to look very far in the Bible to find some novel situations where God showed up big time when people chose to put their trust (faith) in Him. I’m sure you can call up a few of those but if you’re drawing a blank, here’s a couple to look up on your own.
Genesis 17 - 21: Decades of Waiting, Promise Fulfilled (against all odds)
Exodus Chapters 1 – 14: People, Plagues, Pursuit, Passage (against all odds)
Luke 23 – 24: Death to Life (against all odds)
He’s a God who defies the statistical odds, over and over. Be comforted.