“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18).
“God hath not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7).
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee” (Psalm 56:3).
I rarely remember my dreams, and when I do, they tend to be of the weird variety. I mean, really weird!
Last night, however, I awoke from a fearful dream. The details are not important, but it was one of those ones from which you awaken with gratitude that you’ve experienced a nightmare rather than reality.
“Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake” (Job 4:12-14).
Upon awakening, I felt the pangs of fright that accompany such bone-rattling “visions of the night.” They lingered for awhile as I got my bearings and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. I remembered with vivid detail the fearful events of the dream, feeling quite disturbed. It was definitely one of the Psalmist’s “What time I am afraid” moments.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit faithfully brought to mind the remedy for temptations to fear, regardless of the nature or measure of the challenge. David’s “I will trust in Thee” came to mind. I also remembered the truth that our personal challenges provide opportunity to pray for others experiencing similar temptations. I asked the Lord to comfort and reassure fellow believers who might be facing fear, whether from dreams or from more substantive issues. The Lord set my own heart at peace as I trusted and prayed, and I trust He also responded to the intercessions for others He had motivated and enabled.
It is not sin to be tempted to fear. Our humanity reacts to danger, whether perceived or real, with emotional and physical responses beyond our control. The temptation to fear, however, can lead to sin if we do not recognize the opportunity and responsibility for faith that presents itself in “What time I am afraid.” Feelings of initial trepidation pave a path for the ongoing determination of “I will trust in Thee.” Upon this basis of receiving God’s personal bestowal of peace, we then venture forth from ourselves with the prayer that others will avail themselves of our Lord’s heart-settling assurance. I suspect that my own experience of grace this morning resulted from some fellow believer somewhere praying from his or her own altar of faith, built upon the recognition that feelings of fear provide blessed opportunity to trust God, and to prayerfully minister His peace to others.
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.”
(II Corinthians 1:3-5)