I’m continuing my thoughts on facing your fear. Today I want to look at the fear of the worst-case scenario. I recently spoke a message relating the Old Testament story of King Jehoshaphat. If you want the detail of the story you can download the audio or full text here.
Facing the Fear of the Worst-Case Scenario
The story begins by relating how Israel came under a surprise attack. Worse yet, three armies combined and they were just a few miles away. Israel had no time to plan or prepare. Most people would have panicked. But the king took a different path. Here are six lessons that might help you face your fear.
1. Turn to God…immediately.
When faced with a threat, we often think the worst: we get a bad health report and we immediately fear cancer. We have a fight with our spouse and we think divorce. Our child gets caught with drugs and we imagine a life addicted to heroin.
Fear puts you on a one way flight to the worst-case scenario and the in-flight movie is a horror flick about the end of your life as you know it. Fear puts you on a one way flight to the worst-case scenario and the in-flight movie is a horror flick about the end of your life as you know it.
Fear puts you on a one way flight to the worst-case scenario and the in-flight movie is a horror flick about the end of your life as you know it.
But the king of Israel didn’t get on that plane. Instead, he turned to God. He wasn’t afraid to get spiritual. He wasn’t too cool. He got down right desperate. He called the whole country together to pray and fast. Some times prayers of desperation are the best thing you can do.
2. Remind yourself of God’s faithfulness.
The king prayed this prayer: Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? The king knew what God was capable of doing. He faced his fear by remembering what God did in times past. He put the present threat in perspective by recalling that God had given them this land. Why would he allow them to lose it now?
3. Admit you are powerless.
The king continued to pray a prayer that few people dare to pray but is central to Alcoholics Anonymous: For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. Step One of A. A. says: “We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction and our lives have become unmanageable.” You have to let go of your control before you can fully allow God to take control.
4. Move toward the problem.
In response to the king’s prayer, God said: march down against them. Say what? Yo, God…we’ve got nothing to fight with. We will be sitting ducks. Too often our fear causes us to run away or attack. God says, neither. Face your enemy.
What’s your enemy today? BETRAYAL? DIVORCE? BANKRUPTCY? DEPRESSION? CANCER? SUICIDE? God said: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Whatever your enemy is, let God fight for you.
5. Praise God before the battle. Not after.
As Israel’s enemy approached, the king called his people to praise God. What a suicidal thing to do. But amazingly, when the people praised God, the enemy became confused and succumbed to “friendly fire.” When it was all over, the enemy was defeated and God’s people were left unscathed.
6. Expect a blessing.
The people of Israel went into the battle expecting genocide. But when it was all said and done, Every man of Judah and Jerusalem returned with Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies…So the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God gave him rest on all sides. 2 Chronicles 20
Whatever trouble you face today, God wants to give you rest on every side. Don’t allow yourself to fear the worst-case scenario. Consider what might happen if you turn to God and let him fight your battle. You might walk away with a blessing rather than devastation.
Question: How have you faced your fear?