“Do not be afraid.” (Luke 12:32) Such soothing words spoken by our Lord. Not only do they quickly serve to calm the heart, they demonstrate that our Lord knows us. He knows we are weak. He knows we are prone to fear. He knows what we need to hear. There’s comfort in knowing that He understands.
“Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” Psalm 103:14
No one is immune to fear. Worry and anxiety plague everyone without discrimination. In some instances, they can be crippling. Other times they may only be a swiftly passing thought. All too often they stay around and cause a persistent unease in the backs of our minds. Whatever the severity of the emotions, trusting the Lord can drive out the dark clouds and bring peace. We can find strength and courage to face big and small difficulties when we take Him at His word. It’s sometimes easier said than done. I know. I’ve been there. Unfortunately, even though we know God and have received grace upon grace, we can still get fearful and loose site of trusting Him.
This is not a reflection of our Lord. He is fully worthy of our trust, but we can sometimes forget that when we’re faced with grievous circumstances. We can forget that He is trustworthy even when the matter is relatively small. It’s all too easy to get caught up in our troubles and let our imaginations run wild.
In those moments we have some choices to make. Will we lean on Him and not on ourselves? Will we trust Him and say Thy will be done even when we can’t see the big picture and don’t believe what’s happening could possibly be what’s best? Will we continue to believe that what we’ve come to know about Him from His word is true? Oftentimes, prayer and reading the Bible can help us get to a place where we can answer all those questions in the affirmative; and as a result, the fear fades.
I wish I never had to deal with worry or anxiety. I wish becoming a Christian meant you no longer had any fears; but I have not found this to be the case, not with me or with any Christian I know. But as believers, as God’s children, we are blessed because we can seek and receive His help and experience the peace of God.
Many times in my life I have started the day or faced scary things with a plea for God’s help. I have also needed to remind myself to cling to Him and the Bible passages that speak of His mercy, and power. There are a number of versus that have been like anchors for my soul in times of worry and anxiety. Some I return to over and over. Others fall out of my mind for a season; and then when I find them again, it’s like opening a favorite present on Christmas morning. They are oftentimes just what I needed and give me peace and even joy in hard times. These Bible verses have never failed to reach my nervous heart, by which I mean, God always provided.
Comfort for Believers, from the Scriptures
In His love, God has provided many words in the Scriptures that can strengthen our resolve and give us peace. But they are not just words; they are encouragement and promises from the Almighty. It is because He is behind them that they have any power at all. Below are some of the verses that I have found to be real blessings. I pray they bless you as well.
“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” Psalm 56:3
As I wrote earlier, we all experience worry and anxiety. The people in the Bible were no different. I found the expression “Do not be afraid” said by God, an angel, or Jesus 24 times. In Psalm 56:3 David writes “when” I am afraid, I “will” put my trust in You. It appears that he is expecting to experience being afraid again, almost as if it is inevitable. It seems inevitable in my life too. Past experience tells me that I am likely to be afraid again in the future. Knowing that David felt the same thing helps, and I have benefited by imitating him. He learned what to do in those moments, and he planned to do it. He would put his trust in God. David praises God in another psalm for saving him from his fears.
“I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4
Paul too talked about having fears. He also wrote about being comforted by God.
“For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within. But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;” 2 Corinthians 7:5-6
One group of verses that I’ve gone back to again and again when I was afraid is in Proverbs 3. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been strengthened by them.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8
How many times have I leaned on my own understanding? Too many. I believed that the way I imagined things going was definitely how things would play out. Unfortunately, I too often saw things going in a bad direction. That lead to worry and anxiety. When I stopped and remembered these verses and let go of my scenarios and trusted God completely (instead of trusting Him with only a part of my heart), things got better immediately. I experienced peace and a new confidence.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
My confidence came from remembering that God is merciful and sovereign. I have found these two truths to be very effective in arresting my fears. Meditating on God’s mercy and sovereignty puts things in perspective and gives me peace.
“The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;” Isaiah 46:9-10
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,” Ephesians 1:10b-11
Another set of verses that I come back to is in Philippians. Again, I’m sure it is a selection that offers comfort to many Christians.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:6-8
These verses have helped me to let go of whatever I was worrying about many times. The comprehensive “be anxious for nothing” covers, well, everything. And while it has been very helpful, I have felt that the bar was set unrealistically high. Be anxious for nothing for the rest of your life? Wow!
When I read those words I used to focus primarily on my responsibility in obeying them – perfectly. It seemed impossible. But now I believe that those four words “be anxious for nothing” are not about me primarily; instead, they are about God. The nothing is all about Him and His all-encompassing care for me. Because nothing is outside of His notice and control, I can be calm. Because of His sovereignty, mercy, and lovingkindness, I can let go of my worries and fears. I know my responsibility remains, but there is far greater peace and confidence when I focus more on Him and less on myself.
And if this wasn’t great enough, we have further instruction on how to combat our fears. When we stop focusing on the negative and possibly imaginative things that are upsetting us and instead think about whatever is true and lovely and the other types of things mentioned, a lot of our worry and anxiety fade away.
This next set of verses is extra special. Matthew 6:25-34 was read during our wedding ceremony.
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34
Through our marriage, we have revisited these verses many times. Sometimes my husband reminded me of them, and sometimes I reminded him. I’m very thankful that in God’s providence we chose them. They have been a source of great comfort. I’m sure we will return to them again in the future.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
What a thought to finish on – the Creator of the universe cares for you. This is a strongly comforting reality on which to meditate!
All of these verses and many others have been indispensable in my life as a Christian. I do still worry sometimes and will be afraid again in the future; but through the years and by the grace of God, I have learned to trust Him more. Much of that learning happened in times of trouble. Trust really isn’t an issue when things are going well.
I have found that God is present in times of great joy and deep sadness. Trials with my health have presented plenty of opportunities for my trust to grow. There have been moments when the consequences of the pain drove me to the end of my resolve. But God did not leave me there. Because of Him and His abundant love, I found hope and courage again, and the promises and encouragement in His word revived and strengthened me. Along with this, I have seen answered prayers; and I have experienced many blessings. He provides what I need and what is good. He is the remedy for all my fears. I know I can trust Him in this life and for the next.
Finding the Peace of God Which Surpasses All Comprehension
If you are a Christian and are dealing with worry, anxiety, or straight out fear right now, please lean on God and not your own understanding. We are finite and so limited in what we know and what we can do. We are dust! But God is not like that. He is infinite and all powerful. Lean on Him. Cast all your anxieties on Him. Once you’ve cast them, leave them there. Pray and keep praying. Ask others to pray with you and for you. Bring God your prayers with a thankful heart for all that He is, all that He has done, and all that He will do.
Meditate on God’s word. Sit quietly with it until your heart and mind have calmed. God’s word is powerful. Remember when Jesus spoke and calmed the sea? God’s word can calm your heart and mind too. His peace can guard them. I pray you may experience the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension – again and again. (Philippians 4:7) This peace is so special because it is the peace of God – our awesome, infinite, loving God. To Him be the glory, amen!
Peace for the non-believer
If you are not a Christian and wish to know real peace (the peace of God), you must first make peace with God. (Romans 5:1) Please seek out a believer and ask them how they made peace with God.
There are a lot more verses in the Bible that are a source of great comfort. Here’s a few more.