Updated: Sep 17, 2020
There are many promises in the Bible about protection, help, deliverance and rescue. Jesus said there will be many tribulations but He will rescue us out of them all. We know He’s talking about our life here because there are no tribulations in heaven, right? But have you ever felt like Jesus was sleeping on the job? Like He wasn’t there when you needed Him?
Here’s what we often don’t realize. God is always with us, but He has given us instructions, and when we don’t follow them, we don’t even recognize His presence. We let our emotions run rampant and we stir up our fear to the point where He can’t help us. A good example of this is a drowning person. Until they give up, you can’t rescue them. When they’re flailing and panicking, you can’t get close enough to them to get a grip and pull them ashore.
God wants to get close to you, calm your fear and anxiety. But when you’re flailing and panicking, you can’t hear Him, you’re not receiving from Him, you’re not listening to Him. It boils down to the difference between fear and peace. Or you could say fear and faith, or unbelief and trust, anxiety and rest.
I've heard that “Fear not” or a paraphrase of it, such as "do not be afraid" is in the Bible 365 times! That's a "fear not" for every day of the year. God is serious about our not being in fear, and I think it’s because He knows it's so much harder for us to receive His rescue when we’re in that state.
I’ve listed quite a few scriptures here, though only a small fraction of what God has said to us in His Word regarding remaining in peace. See if you can identify the commonality among them. A clue is in the emphasis added.
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
– Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 CSB
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; - Phil 4:6 NKJV
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. - John 14:27NASB
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. - KJV
Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. - GNT
Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life. – CEV
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. –NLV
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. –NIV
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
– Isaiah 41:10
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
- Psalm 46:1–3
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” - Psalm 56:3–4
“For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.”- Psalm 112:6–8
"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." - Psalm 55:22
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears." - Psalm 34:4
"Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:7
Here’s what the scriptures have in common – they are calls to action. They are instructions for US to do something -- guard our hearts, don’t fear, trust, cast our cares. WE are required to put our faith in motion in order to receive this peace – the peace that passes understanding. Remaining in peace – no stress, no fear, no anxiety – is not a matter of the amount of faith you have. We’re all issued THE (same) measure of faith when we accept Christ. It’s just a matter of activating it, plugging it in, inserting the batteries. There are some things God just can’t do for us, because we have free will. This is one of them. We have to make the decision to remain in peace, at rest, trust in Him. We have to cast our cares on Him. Then He can make the most amazing things happen, and rescue us out of every difficulty.
PS – You can pray for God’s help to trust in Him! I once asked Him to do a work in my heart while I slept, I was so angry with Him and terrified about the future. I woke up grinning from ear to ear and couldn’t wait to see God’s plan unfold. It’s sort of the same thing as His promise to give seed to the sower.