After my first manic episode, I was filled with fear. I was afraid of the mania returning. The saddest part of all was that I was afraid of being happy. Every time I felt joy or laughed, I was certain that the mania was returning. I cried out to God for help. He met me right where I was and carried me through that tumultuous time. It took quite a while before this fear of being happy subsided. It took several times of crying out to God for His strength to get me through this time. On the other side, I look back now and thank God for bringing good out of the bipolar disorder, by filling me with faith instead of fear.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV).
WHAT’S IN A WORD?
Fear is “a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger…timidity” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary). It is “to be afraid or apprehensive” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). It is “cowardice and timidity” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).
Faith is “unquestioning belief in God” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary). It is “belief and trust in and loyalty to God” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). It is “a firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgment of God’s revelation or truth” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).
Fear can cripple us when we are in the midst of a trial. We may not know how to deal with this fear. The good news is that we can cry out to God for help and strength in the midst of the trial.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV).
Read Joshua 1:9. What did the Lord command Joshua?
What did God not want Joshua to be?
What comforting promise did God give to Joshua?
God will indeed be with us wherever we go. In this, we draw strength and courage. We need not fear for God is with us.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, NIV).
Read Psalm 27:1. How did David describe God?
What did David not be?
What is the Lord as of David’s life?
How did David end this passage?
We have nothing to fear as God is indeed our light and salvation. As a stronghold, the Lord gives us strength instead of weakness and fear.
“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6, NIV).
Read Hebrews 13:6. How did they speak?
What was the Lord in this passage?
What will he not be?
What question did the author of Hebrews ask?
Man cannot harm us if we draw strength and faith from God. We need not fear man. Instead, we can approach God for His power.
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5, NIV).
Read 1 Corinthians 2:4-5. What was Paul’s message not with?
What was Paul’s message with?
What should our faith not rest on?
What should our faith rest on?
When we rely upon the Holy Spirit, we will reach others in power. Our faith is strengthened when we rest on God’s power instead of our own. I had to learn to rely upon God’s wisdom instead of my own during the trial of bipolar disorder.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV).
Read Hebrews 11:6. What is impossible to please God?
How must we come to Him?
Who does God reward?
We must earnestly seek God in faith and belief instead of cowering in fear. Faith gives us strength and resolve to face whatever comes our way. When we cry out to God in the midst of our trials, we can rely upon His strength instead of our own.
YOUR HEART’S DESIRE
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22, NIV). This is an encouraging promise for those who believe and have faith. However, we must realize that God will give what we ask for in prayer if it is His will. God knows what is best for us.
Name a trial in your life when you experienced fear.
How did you cry out to God?
What Scripture spoke to you during this time?
How did God’s presence and direction turn your fear into faith?
How did this strengthen your relationship with God?
“For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV). We indeed live by faith. The world relies upon sight and feel empty. The world has no answer to the fears which intimidate them. However, we have the good news that God gives us faith to face whatever comes our way.
Dear Heavenly Father, I surrender any fear I am experiencing right now. Fill me with faith to believe that with You, all things are possible. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
NUGGETS OF WISDOM
Faith attracts the positive. Fear attracts the negative. Author unknown
Fear imprisons, faith liberates. Fear paralyzes, faith empowers. H.E. Fosdick
Fear forces love leads, faith follows. Keith Moore
The right fear comes from faith, false fear from doubt. Blaise Pascal
Fear looks; faith jumps! Smith Wigglesworth