How to Have Brave Faith When Life Gets Scary

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Faith, Fear 25 Comments

Let’s face it. Life can be scary. 

We watch the news and feel like Chicken Little. The sky always seems to be falling. 

We lose sleep over our loved ones, our lost ones, and our little ones.

We worry about the economy, finances, and employment. 

We shake and shudder when more medical testing is required or the diagnosis is not favorable.

We are anxious with “what ifs” and “whys.”

It’s understandable that we wrestle with the opponent of fear. The world is broken and life isn’t a Hallmark movie or a fairy tale. (Although I do love a good Hallmark movie!) In the same token, while I realize it’s completely normal for us to process emotions of anxiety and unrest, the Bible says that it is not God’s plan for us to crumble in its wake. (2 Timothy 1:7)

We can’t let fear run our lives. Fear was never meant to control or consume us.

The good news is that God doesn’t just tell us to suck it up and deal. He gives us the tools we need to help us in the fear-fight.

Proverbs 1:33 says, “but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” I sure do like the promises in this verse. Yes, please. I want to live in safety and be at ease. Order me up some of that, God! (You want this too, right?)

So how can you and I have a brave faith when life gets scary? Let’s consider the text and break down the promises found in Proverbs 1:33 by looking at the: who, what, and why.

…but whoever listens to me

WHO is the “me” we need to listen to? The context of the chapter lets us know that the me is God’s wisdom. I listen to God’s wisdom when I go to Him with my fears instead of allowing them to grip me. When I pray and place my anxieties in His care. When I reflect upon God’s Word, power, plan, and strength more than on the words of that analyst on the news channel. God is the source of the wisdom I must listen to.

WHAT does it mean to “listen” in this verse? The Hebrew word shama’ is used. Shama’ means to hear, listen to, yield to, obey. (Strongs H8085) So to listen to the wisdom of God does not simply mean that my ears need to process His wisdom. It means that my heart needs to process and implement His wisdom. It is not just about hearing audibly, it’s about hearing spiritually … and responding accordingly.

…will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

WHY does it matter if I accept and walk in God’s wisdom verses my own? My own wisdom is limited. (1 Corinthians 1:25) It’s subjective and faulty. And while the implementation of earthly wisdom can and often does bring some benefit, it will not always lead me to the safety and ease I long for deep inside.

God’s wisdom is perfect. It leads my heart, mind, and soul to safety and rest in a world that is filled with scary realities and uncertainties. And it’s free for the asking! He gives us wisdom when we ask for it. That promise is found in James 1:5. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

When we ask for and listen to God’s wisdom – when we hear it, yield to it, apply it and obey it – we will live in peace. Not the world’s peace – God’s peace. We will be at ease in Christ. Not with perfect lives, but with lives that are not controlled by fear and anxiousness. We can and will experience calm in spite of the chaos.

I hear your push back. Really? That seems too easy. It’s just not that simple, Gwen.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to tap an easy-button here. The biblical instruction might be simple, but the implementation of it isn’t. If you and I are going to live with a brave faith we need God’s help. Remember? Jesus said that apart from Him we can bear NO fruit. (John 15:5) What does fruit have to do with this conversation? Glad you asked…

And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace… (Galatians 5:22)

Peace.

God’s peace is more powerful than the fears of this earth and His peace abounds in His presence.

It’s evidence of the Holy Spirit at work within us.

When you and I spend time with Jesus… when we look beyond our fears to His sovereign strength… when we trust in the wisdom of God and set our hearts on His Word, we find the peace our hearts long for.

 

Dear God,
I need Your peace today. I know that in order to be at rest I have to stop juggling fear with faith. So I ask for Your wisdom. Help me to be brave. I come now and hand over these concerns (pause to personalize this). Fill me with Your love,
joy and peace instead, Lord.

In Jesus’ name, amen

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:15) What would it look like for you to bear the fruit of the Spirit today when it comes to the worries of your heart? {Grab your journal and write out a response or meet me on my blog or Facebook wall for deeper discussion.}

Peace and grace,

GWEN

FREE FOR YOU:

There are endless opportunities for us to worry, wander, and wonder. But that’s not God’s best for us. Though we remain broken and impacted by an imperfect world, you and I can get through anything in the power and hope of Jesus. Download this FREE ebook today and join me as I share Biblical truth, honest struggles, and practical help.

 

 

 

Comments 25

  1. Gwen,
    I am so thankful for the devotions I receive as I am trying to grow in my relationship with the Lord. The question you asked at the end of this devotion, my answer is, I have no clue. Now I feel confused. Why couldn’t I answer this question? What is wrong with me???

  2. Hello Gwen,
    I look so forward to reading the Girlfriends in God devotions every days. They really minister to me and help me face all he negativity I am subjected to every day at work. Your devotion: How to Have Brave Faith When Life Gets Scary really spoke to me as my husband and I are facing some real challenges in our life right now with medical problems and finances. As the idiom goes, “when it rains, it pours” is very applicable to our lives right now. I have been experiencing restless and in some case sleepless nights due to worry about the future. I would really appreciate any prayers you could send my way and I will in turn reciprocate. I love your devotions and consider them a true inspiration in my life. Thank you and God bless you. Erin

  3. Dear Gwen hi my Name is Linda, I Have a Great Fear of Heart Attack because I have Afibration irregular Heart beat’s, Fear of Warfarin throwing me into a Stroke or Serious Bleeding it’s a blood thinner, Fear of Something Bad Happening to me or my Fiance’ or my Dog,
    Yesterday Devotions Help’s when I read it,
    But afterwards as the day goes I pick them back up(Fears)!!!!
    I know God Protects me so Drained and Afraid!

  4. I found today’s e-mail helpful. Fear over faith. My Son in law has been diagnosed with bi-polar a few years back. He was committed to the hospital the first time for 3 weeks and was given the diagnosed then. While adjusting his meds he had a relaspe where he was placed in the hospital for 2 weeks. My daughter/him have 2 little girls and of course I have concern for their mental health future. They have over the years accumulated credit card debt. We took $10,000 and they paid us back without interest with the fact they would no longer use credit cards. We just found out they have a credit card that has $6000 balance. My husband felt very betrayed. We also purchased a house for them close too $300,000 which we had hoped they would be able to buy but with their bad choices and mental health issues I am fearful we will never see the money. We are also in the process of selling a home we built and we decided we were not ready to move from this location. So I have fear it will take forever to sale and we will be making 2 house payments. I want so much to have faith that all of these things will become better and we can breathe again. I thank you for your sight. I remind myself that God is in control and nothing has passed by him that He has not approved. I’m sure there is something for us to gain in knowledge. Thank you for allowing me to get this out of my heart. God Bless…

    1. Judy, please know that Gwen and her team are praying for your family! May God comfort your heart and bring you peace to know that He is there for you! Sherri, Gwen’s Ministry Assistant

  5. The passage 2 Corinthians 10.5 ia about destroying strongholds and taking our thoughts captive.
    I find this comforting because I can take my thoughts and become aware of what I am thinking….submit it to God and allow God to destroy the stronholds and thoughts that stop us from being effective.
    This can be a painful process.. eg making the decision to break contact with my alcoholic son so he understands boundaries. I would not have been able to do this on my own…and I am so thankful God gave me these shoves ( not pushes).
    We must submit everything we think…..our ideas, our world view to God . ‘Let your word dismantle me’

  6. I am thankful for your post. Yes, even when I think I am standing strong, fear creeps in. I read somewhere that fear is the opposite of faith. I am praying for God’s peace in all circumstances that I feel vulnerable and insecure. Right now my marriage is draining me emotionally basically because I lack trust in my husband and fundamentally have accepted that he doesn’t love me. So I am trusting God to show me where do I go from here and give me wisdom and practice to accept whatever God tells me.

  7. My anxiety is so overwhelming. I cannot do anything without anxiety and fear being present. I am so scared about the future. Nothing seems to help me. Faith, therapy, and medication have failed. I am losing hope and want God to heal me or kill me. I just want relief. I can’t even concentrate long enough to read the Bible. Please help me.

    1. Post
      Author

      Kirk, I am so sorry for the pain you are feeling and have been feeling for so long. Anxiety and fear can be so crippling. The world we live in is almost a breeding ground for these things. I am so thankful to hear that you have been reaching out to our Father in heaven and bathing yourself in His truths, going to therapy, and even trying medication. I want you to know that I am praying for you right now. I’m praying that you will feel a peace come over you that no matter what trials you are going through, God will never leave you or forsake you. He is our Comforter and our Healer. While we may still battle with things such as fear and anxiety and hardships and trials, for this life isn’t going to be free from those things, God wants you to lean on Him through it all and listen to his Truth not the lies from the enemy. He may not remove your storms, but He will walk with you through them. I encourage you to continue the fight. Continue the walk. Find a men’s group at a local church that you can become a part of where your brothers in Christ can come alongside you during this time. Don’t give up the fight! Blessings!

  8. I so needed this! My husband of 39 years had a massive heart attack at 44 years old and that was almost 14 years ago. He was suppose to die and was taken off the ventilator to die but God thought different! Now he is facing promblems with his heart again racing to fast and they can’t seem to find the medicine to fix it. He could have another heart attack at any time. I’m so scared to go through what I went through before. We are both Christians and I know God is in control but I need some peace about this. Please pray for us especially me! I am trying to give all my concerns to God but I tend to pick them up and worry still. I don’t want to have to make a choice like before of taking him off the ventilator again! But I don’t want him or he don’t want to live like a vegetable either. I need Gods peace about this.

  9. Thank you for being obedient to God and sharing this devotion. My 15 year old son got angry and depressed on new years day and tried to commit suicide. Thank God I found him in time. He is now getting help in a local mental hospital where they are trying to find out what happened and help him to not try that again. I am missing him being here at home desperately. I know where he is is where he needs to be right now, but my whole soul aches right now. I do not know what haitppened or why. I feel helpless and alone. I know I have to trust God and I long for the peace only He can give me and my son in this time of need.

    1. I know this is a few months later and your son is probably back home with
      you by now. But remember the God who prompted you to come
      across your son after a suicide attempt, before it was too late, is the same
      God who is with your son right now. God loves him more than you ever
      could and He is trustworthy and knows how to take care of our children
      even when we don’t do it perfectly. No one can be with their loved ones 24/7 but God is always with them, and US. You are not alone. If your son is out of the house
      for any length of time, go in his room and pray and maybe play praise music. You don’t even have to tell him you did that, just let God touch Him in His own way. I pray Psalm 91 over my family on a regular basis. I can’t tell you all the times God’s
      protected me, and them, from harm, and I’m sure there were times he protected
      us from situations we didn’t even know were happening.

  10. I am craving God’s peace again in my life! I’ve been attacked from every angle and I’ve been in a tailspin! I have lost my home, vehicle, and job. Five weeks ago the Lord lifted me out of a mentally and emotionally abusive relationship. I’m staying with a friend and her husband. My friend is my prayer partner, but her husband is so negative. I’ve submitted 50 resumes with no replies. Im an intercessor, or I should say I was until this past year. I’m in the Word constantly but haven’t been able to break through in my prayer life. I can’t seem to put worry aside this time. The Lord has been my deliverer and I’ve walked in His grace for years. I want peace, joy, and love again!

    1. Just keep on repeating His promise to you, over and over and over until when the worry starts or the frustration is overwhelming you, you will respond with the promise of God. remember God is in control, He knows all and He has the just right job for you at the just right time. Wait upon the LORD …He will strengthen you and refresh you. He will supply your peace. Keep repeating His promise you. You are loved my the Almighty God, the only God , the one true God, the creator.He made you and He will take care of you , never dropping you from His righteous right Hand. His plan for you is perfect. Remember Proverbs 1.33

  11. This is a message I need daily. Life gets out of control and I can spend endless hours planning, preparing and stressing over how to make things “right or better”. I work on fixing things or analyzing situations for understanding in the car, the shower, while trying to sleep. The fact is, I am exhausting myself. The simplicity of going to God’s word almost seems to easy. I am 44 years old and I still revert back to my way even though I have NEVER been let down by God’s word or my quiet time with Him. I always end up grounded with the PEACE of the spirit. I am not saying my situation is fixed but my perspective is.
    Thank you Gwen for your dedication to us girls. I have followed your messages since our womens retreat in January 2015 at The Cove. So many times I do not know where to go in the Bible. If I read your message I have a start!

  12. The Scriptures gracefully explain it all-
    Proverbs 1:20-33
    “20 Wisdom calls outloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares, 21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateway of the city she makes her speech; 22 “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? Hiw long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. 24 But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, 25 since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, 26 I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me and not find me. 29 Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, 30 since they would not accept my advice and apurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. 32 For the waywardness of the wicked will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” ” ☆

  13. I know God loves me and I try so hard to stay positive, but just when I begin to feel great and i think things are getting better reality hits and my family starts to fall apart again ever year at this time my grown son makes it a point to disrupt what should be a joyous time for us he so hateful and selfish towards me I’ve been a single mom for 35 years I Know I wasn’t a perfect mom but they had the best .I’ve asked him time and time again to forgive me for the mistakes I made, I try to detach myself from him but soon as I do he calls with some issue and I fall back into a trap of him abusing me emotionally then I regress And start to feel that my life will never worth living that I was mistake I know God dosnt make mistakes but that how I’m feeling. How do I let go and let God?

    1. Hi Robin, I am so sorry that you are being emotionally abused by your son.There are two books that I recommend to begin to understand the cycle of abuse and what healthy boundaries are. You can buy these on half
      com for a good price. The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans and Boundaries by Henry Cloud. Praying for you Maureen

  14. Thank you for your commitment and caring heart to seek Him diligently in order to write about from the spirit leading for he knows what we need before we ask. This word today is what I needed for I’ve lived a life of fear and although, I am a Christian it is not easy for me to know the path I need to take specially now.. But, this confirms that I will need once again to have brave faith and a strongg heart to what he may be calling me to do. This will be 3rd attempt to reunite with my boys for they need me desperately as much as I need them. God will have to walk me in the process as he is already showing me and by faith will make each step at a time. I’m awAre that I will have opposition and will need to stay firm and not waiver missing the blessing and trust in him. Need your prayers! Thank you.

  15. I am so thankful that we have a God to cast all our cares upon! As the new year approaches, we need to ground ourselves in God’s Word . As woman of faith, mother’s and wives…we need to pray for our families and rebuke all the darkness of this world, seen and unseen. Let’s agree to stand on God’s promises together and allow him to work through us!

  16. Thank you so much for this message. I recently came across this devotional after the death of a loved one. I was looking to God for peace and comfort during this time and this message has really helped me.

  17. This devotional was great. I’ve been reading Girlfriends in God since April and it has helped me stay grounded in my faith. This is exactly what I needed to read on this last Monday of the year as I look towards the future and remember that faith is powerful.

  18. Thank you, Ms. Smith for this devotional. I am so heatsick and worried over my dad’s illness. Your devotional was exactly what I prayed about this morning. Now I am on the train going to work reading this. Thank you, Lord and God Bless you, Ms. Smith

    Jennifer

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