By Michael Risley
In 2005, a fellow pastor and I went to India to assist some missionaries. After a long flight, our plane was finally descending to the airport in the city of New Delhi.
But there was a problem – the winds at the airport were strong and powerful, and the plane was rocking side to side. As we were about to touch down on the runway, suddenly the plane lifted off, engines roaring as we ascended dramatically.
The fear in the plane was palpable.
The pilot came over the intercom seeking to calm us down and explained we would circle and try to land again. So, both the second time and third time, he attempted to land the plane, the winds jolting the plane like a toy, and at the last second, each time, he aborted the landing.
By this time there was sheer panic. Adults and children were crying and praying out loud as we all sensed that our circumstances were dire. The pilot said,
“We will try one more time to land, and if we cannot, then we will fly to another airport.”
As we descended for the fourth time, I remember thinking, “This could be it! We could easily crash and die!” My fear was growing, then God spoke to my heart, “Michael, don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will help you.”
At that point, I refocused my mind on God through prayer and trusting in His promises to me. As you can see by the fact that I am telling you this story, we made it! By God’s grace, we landed safely.
Fear is something we all battle against. The Bible repeats the command “fear not” 365 times, or once for every day of the year. It is as if God is telling us there is no day in our lives when fear is not a present reality.
So be prepared and courageous for this daily challenge. But how?
You must, with God’s help, change the way you think. Romans 12:2 says,
Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
One way to do this is to regularly train in focusing on truth and not on the lies which cause fear. For instance, if you are fearful of the future, it is usually when your mind thinks about the future and is not including God being with you and helping you – see the lie?
Philippians 4:8 teaches,
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
What is more true, honorable, and worthy of praise than God and His Word?
Therefore, keep your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and the truth and promises of God’s Word. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
And Psalm 1:2 says of believers, “They delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.”
So if you are struggling with fear, you need to “raise the bar” on your intake of God’s Word by not only reading it, but also meditating and memorizing it! Soon you will experience, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that the truth of God will instill in you courage and set you free from fear!
The following are some of the truths and promises you might focus upon by memorizing and thinking deeply on the verses referenced:
1. God promises He will be with us. – Hebrews 13:5; Isaiah 41:10
2. Another amazing promise relates to God’s sovereignty and goodness
regarding our lives – Romans 8:28
3. Make your fears a definite matter for prayer – Philippians 4:6–7; Psalm
4. Learn to trust God as you make decisions – Proverbs 3:5-6
5. God will provide – Matthew 6:31–34; Psalm 37:25
6. God’s love for us is permanent – Romans 8:38–39
Remember: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
So discipline yourself to focus on God’s truth rather than lies!
Want more encouragement and inspiration to help you finish well and make each day count? Listen to more from Joanie and Michael Risley on the Meaningful Moments podcast.