E31: Trusting God and tackling fear
PODCAST: In uncertain times we need to believe more than ever that everything is in God’s hands.
In uncertain times, we need to believe more than ever that everything is in God’s hands. There is no comparison for the comfort and peace this brings us. “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Matthew 6:27. Kathy and Julia talk about what has helped them the most when it comes to learning to trust in God.
Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, Episode 31: Trusting God and tackling fear
This is ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we explore different aspects of the gospel according to the Bible, and how we can put this into practice in daily life.
Kathy: Hi everybody, welcome to “Living the Gospel.” I’m Kathy.
Julia: And I’m Julia.
Kathy: We’re sitting here recording this podcast on Friday evening, March 13th. And we know that there is one thing on people’s minds these days. That we can probably say is on almost everybody’s minds these days.
Julia: Absolutely. I just got home from work and I work in a cubicle in the middle of a very large room. My cube is kind of along the main thoroughfare, so there’s a lot of foot traffic there. And it’s all anybody’s been talking about. So, all I hear all day are the voices of people talking about the Coronavirus. So, it’s on everybody’s minds.
Julia: It’s an interesting turn of events.
Kathy: It definitely is. And like, you think about it, it’s something that, honestly, is like a once in a lifetime experience for most … I mean, I say that now, who knows, we don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know what other people’s pasts hold. So, in times like these, it can be very easy to experience things like anxiety and fear and uncertainty, for sure. Like, we have no idea what’s coming, right? We don’t know what the future holds. What we want to talk about here today is, we just want to share some encouragement and some hope, and hopefully bring some peace and some comfort in these times, right?
Julia: And just remind ourselves and each other that actually, God is on our side, and we have no reason to give in to any thoughts of anxiety and panic and anything like that.
Kathy: And I think, like, it’s not unnatural to be tempted to these things. It’s actually, I would say it’s almost unnatural not to be tempted. I mean, we’re all on different levels of, you know, this way that we’re on, and some people, to them, anxiety might be a thing of the distant past. You know, some of us may struggle with it, with the temptation, and have to battle it a little bit more. But the thing is, we as Christians, we are actually in the best possible position in this time. We’re in the palm of God’s hand! That’s what’s written. We are in the palm of God’s hand.
Julia: We actually all are, but we’re lucky enough to know it.
Kathy: Exactly. And to be able to rest securely in that, right? And, it’s written, to cast all your care on Him, for He cares for you. And that’s something we all know. And you know, we all go through different times in our lives where these verses, we kind of have to hold on to them a little bit tighter than others. But this especially is a time where a verse like that is where we can really learn to be a doer of the word, and not just a hearer. Right? We can really lay hold of that. When temptations come up, trust in that word.
Julia: We choose to believe the word, right?
Kathy: Yeah, exactly.
Julia: And of course, we’re not saying ignore the situation. It is what it is, and who knows how it may develop.
Kathy: But the thing is that in doing all of this, we don’t have to come out of rest.
Julia: No, we can have perfect peace in the middle of everything that goes on. At all times!
Kathy: And I have to say, I have been tempted for sure. You know that.
Kathy: But interestingly, yesterday I was putting together a story for Instagram, for ActiveChristianity, which is as you know, part of Living the Gospel. Or Living the Gospel is part of ActiveChristianity, rather. So, I was putting together a story of wallpapers that we can share, and people can take screenshots of, with verses and quotes that bring comfort and peace. And as I was putting these together, I found this one, and the verse is Psalm 56:3, and it’s so simple. It says: “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”
Julia: Doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Kathy: No! So now I actually have that as the background on my phone. When I’m afraid, I’ll put my trust in You. And that’s the faith that I’m going to stand on in these times. And I know, for myself, it’s so easy to sit and imagine, “What if this happens?” And you think of this scenario and that scenario, and you can get so caught up and carried away in that. Anyways, that’s how I am; I can be that way. But no, where are my thoughts? This is also an opportunity to do what’s written, to take my thoughts into captivity, into the obedience of Christ. And I set my mind firmly in God, and I believe in Him, I trust in Him, and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that He has everything in His hands.
Julia: He really does. That’s actually what has been going through my mind this whole week, actually for the last couple of weeks, but in light of this too, even more. From a song that I know, the line goes, “When in God’s hands then all is as it should be. His saints are there preserved most zealously.” And His saints, obviously, is us, the people on earth who are in a development. So, it’s extremely comforting.
Kathy: Yeah, I love that line.
Julia: There’s no reason to have any doubt about … I mean, is there anybody in the universe better equipped to handle any situation than God?
Kathy: No. He is the greatest … He is the only great power in the universe. And He’s the Creator of all things; it’s impossible to think that He doesn’t have His hand over all this, that He doesn’t know what’s happening right now. And He has a purpose in everything, and we can’t see that purpose necessarily, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a purpose.
Julia: No, and I actually almost … I find it almost comforting that my tiny little brain just can’t get around it all, because I just have to leave it in God’s hands! I’m not going to sit here and thinking and stewing about it until I manage to get my head around it, which first of all is never going to happen. I’m not going to solve anything. So, to just be able to just understand, no, this isn’t something that I’m going to reason my way through, this is just something that is in God’s hands, and then I can just trust in Him.
Kathy: And the other thing that I’ve been thinking about is that I truly believe that when the time is right, God is going to put out His hand and He’s going to say this far, and no farther.
Kathy: And He knows exactly when that point is. And I have no idea when that point is, obviously, but I believe that He has that point in mind, and He will cause that to happen. And He’s absolutely, He’s Almighty; He will do that when the time is right.
Julia: And when that time is, is actually none of my business.
Kathy: Yeah. And the other thing though, that I was just thinking about, is that we have the power to pray in this situation. Like, we don’t either have to be fatalistic and think, oh whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. But we have the power to pray. We can pray for peace, first of all for ourselves, that we can come into peace and rest over this. And then for those around us, right? That things can go well for everyone around us. And the other thing I thought about is, don’t forget to pray for your government and the people who are in charge of trying to sort all this out.
Julia: Paul exhorts somebody to do that in one of his letters. Pray for those who are in authority.
Kathy: Exactly. And I think it’s very easy to criticize and see what they’re doing wrong, right? “Well, it should be like this and this, and what are they doing …?” But, I don’t have, anyways, anywhere near the kind of wisdom to sort anything out.
Julia: “Well, what I would do is …” I got nothing.
Kathy: But what is in my power, is to pray.
Julia: Yeah. And that’s no small thing.
Kathy: It’s not a small thing.
Julia: We’ve said that before, but it’s really not.
Kathy: So, we have an article on ActiveChristianity that is called “26 Bible verses to help you combat anxiety, worry, and stress.” It’s interesting because I actually put this article together. You know, just researched the verses and kind of grouped them and put them together, and I did that, I think about a year ago. And just this week pulled it out to look at it again, and I was actually amazed how appropriate it is for this situation now. And I just want to read this one paragraph from it. It says: “The truth of the matter is that you have the greatest power in the universe on your side. You have the Almighty God, the Creator of the ends of the earth holding you in the palm of His hand! The truth is that when you believe that, there is not ever anything to worry about. He will uphold you and cause everything that happens to you to turn out for your best.”
Julia: So, there’s a lot of verses in this article, and actually, in looking at them, I see that a lot of them are from Psalms. And I was thinking, as we were thinking about doing this podcast, that actually to read Psalms is really good in times like these.
Kathy: Yes, definitely.
Julia: Like, David over the course of his life came to a place where he acknowledged that he was personally bankrupt, and needed God for everything and I think became, you can almost say, a master in drawing comfort from God. If you read any of the Psalms, there’s many where you can see the anguish that he was in in his daily situations in them, but in every single one it comes back to that, God is his … Like, for example here, Psalm 121: “The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.” And then Psalm 118: “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.” And then of course the one that we all know, from Psalm 23: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” And there are so many in Psalms, and everywhere in the Bible, but that spirit that David came into is really something to drink of.
Kathy: And it’s a choice we make, right? I choose in this time, and in any time, I choose to put my trust in God. And then that’s my position of faith, and then when I’m tempted, I can say: “Get behind me Satan, I’ve made this choice, I’ve decided that my whole trust is in the Lord.” And then I use the word.
Julia: This article has a lot of verses in it, obviously, that are really, really good. Starting with this one in Joshua 1:9 where God said to Joshua: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” And actually, in reading that now, to me it seems really … pivotal, is that the word? It seems really interesting that God said, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage.” So, this feeling strong and having good courage, these are not feelings. This is a decision. If God has commanded us to do it, that means it’s fully possible for us to do it. We don’t have to wait for a feeling to come. So, to me, that’s really good.
Kathy: And to believe that. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go. We recently listened to a sermon that was about prayer, actually. And in it he talked about how God and Jesus, you don’t have to go somewhere to talk to them and be with them. They’re right there with you, wherever you are. So, you’re in your living room, and Jesus – He’s there with you, and you can just speak to Him and pray to Him and talk to Him. You don’t have to wait for anything, you can just … He’s right there.
Julia: Yeah, he painted a really good picture. God and Jesus sitting in your living room, just waiting for you to come chat with them. And how stupid am I if I don’t make use of that? How is it written? The God of all comfort. That is what God is called in the Bible. How silly not to make use of that. Not to go to Him … Why would I go anywhere else to draw my comfort when I can go directly to the God of all comfort?
Then there is the verse in Matthew 10, these are the words of Jesus: “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Kathy: And this verse, we’ve read this verse many times, I think, on this podcast before. Psalm 139:16-17: “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” God loves us so much. Individually. Each of us. Like, He’s created us. He’s our Creator. He doesn’t create us and then leave us. He loves us and He takes care of us as if we’re the only one. So that’s the God we’re dealing with.
Julia: It’s actually funny that you say that, because I do, like … This is going to sound tacky maybe, I don’t know, but I feel like I’m special to Him, but then … OK, we went to a Winnipeg Jets game last week with some of my friends. The last one of the season, as coronavirus would dictate. Anyways, there were probably about, I think that arena seats about 15,000 people. So, I was waiting for a couple of my friends afterwards, before we could leave, and swarms of people are going past us. And I was just standing there … and this happens to me all the time … I was just standing there with my mind absolutely boggled, that God loves each one of these people individually, as much as He loves me, and knows each of them as well as He knows me. Yeah, and has that care for all of them. So, then we know in times like these, for example, or in anything that comes along, that God has the whole world on His heart. And everyone in it. You know? And He’s planned everything with such great care and love for each one. And we’re so short-sighted as people, we can never see the long-range plans. But God knows exactly what He’s doing, you know?
Kathy: Yeah, obviously. And we have to believe that with all of our hearts. And the other thing is, moving on to this verse, Matthew 6:27: “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Right? Like, our choice is to worry or to take our comfort in God? It’s not really a choice when you think of it that way. To have this burden of worry and anxiety.
Julia: There’s a verse that I always think about, somewhere in the Old Testament that says … it’s in Psalms … says that I do not concern myself with things that are too profound for me. And I think about that a lot. Because I actually grew up with an intense phobia of eternity. Because it’s something that I can’t get my head around, the fact that I will be alive for eternity. And I used to, as a kid and as a young adult, actually, I used to have panic attacks about it. And this verse is what I worked with to bring me out of that. It’s not something that by worrying about it, I’m going to come to a point where I understand it. That’s never going to happen. So, what is the point? Do I not believe, first of all in a God of miracles, a God who is the original scientist? And designed this whole thing.
Kathy: Yeah, and faith isn’t understanding. Faith is trust and believing when we don’t know.
Julia: And that doesn’t mean I’m an idiot and I don’t use my brain. That’s not what it is.
Kathy: No, it’s a conscious choice.
Julia: But we understand that as humans we don’t know everything. And that’s fine, because we serve a God who is the Creator and the architect of everything. And we can safely leave everything in His hands. And for me it’s been a huge work to come to that. And still, very occasionally, a temptation for me to fall into panic. But I understand that God has everything in His hand and there’s not a thing that I need to worry about and not a thing that is going to become solved by me reasoning through it and understanding it in that way.
Kathy: And then we can read this verse that we probably all know very well. “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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” So that peace of God, I like how it says it will guard your heart. So, it’s like you get this wall, kind of, around your heart, that keeps out all this anxiety and stress and fear. If you can do that, if you can, in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God. “God, I am tempted to be anxious and stressed right now, so help me, give me peace, and give me rest in this time.”
Julia: And it even says that just by doing that, the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds. That actually made me think of … Last summer there was a children’s event at church, and the theme of it was keeping your heart with all diligence. And then they did this little play on stage for the kids. And it was of the inside of a human heart. It was like these little people that were inside the heart, and then the big key turning point of the whole thing was that there was a door to the heart, but the handle was on the inside. So, nothing can come from the outside and open that door; you have to open it yourself and let something in. So, it’s completely your choice. And again, you can see here that it’s a specific direction. “Be anxious for nothing.” Right? It’s our choice!
Kathy: It’s not like: If you can manage it, don’t be anxious.
Julia: And obviously, we need to pray to God for help to do that, but it’s our choice. “Be anxious for nothing.”
Kathy: I think we can read one more verse here to finish off. And that’s in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Julia: Let’s read one more. Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Kathy: Yeah. And I think if we can believe in that, and if we can put our full confidence in God … We have confidence, we’re confident that He is going to do the work that He has in mind through everything in life. And if we can believe that, we just come to so much rest, right?
Julia: There are actually quite a few more verses in this article. We didn’t read them all but you can go find it on ActiveChristianity. It is … I mean, there is not even much added to it; it’s just the Bible.
Kathy: No, it’s basically just … Well, nothing gives comfort like God’s word, right? Like, I could go over and over this list of verses. There’s not a limit to how often we can read them. And you know, just pick up your Bible and read there, and you will find comfort and the strength you need in these times. Or in any times!
Julia: In any times, really. And I actually thought too, it’s maybe a bit of a sidetrack, but when you were talking about not having opinions about how people do things and stuff like that. I thought, this is a special time that is coming over us now that brings unique opportunities, and what a great chance to make use of some opportunities that I might not get again. For example, having opinions about the way the authorities do things. Well, there’s always opportunity to do that, I guess. But I just remember talking to a friend once who had been going through something so difficult, and it had finally come to an end, and I said, “Oh, how relieved you must be!” And she said, “Yeah, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. That time is over now, and those trials are gone, and how well did I use them?” And to approach everything that comes to us with that attitude, then it becomes like a gold mine that you can just, start extracting gold from, you know?
Kathy: Like, we certainly find things in our nature in trying times.
Julia: And our whole point here is that we’re being formed for eternity, so any chance to get there further and quicker and more …
Kathy: So, let’s use the opportunity!
OK, so we’ll put the link for this article in the episode description for today. And we do have a lot more articles on ActiveChristianity as well about worry and stress and casting your care on God. So, you can find those on the website anytime.
Julia: Yup, and read Psalms!
Kathy: Read Psalms, yeah.
Julia: Well, you don’t have to, but that’s my exhortation to you. And also use your concordance. Use a concordance online. Look up verses about comfort. Look up verses about peace or rest, or whatever. And I mean, there’s obviously so much.
Kathy: Everything we need is there.
Julia: Yeah, everything we need is there.
Kathy: So, thanks for joining us today.
Julia: Yup, have a good week everyone.
Kathy: Have a good week, stay …
Julia: Stay safe and healthy.
Kathy: Stay safe and healthy. Wash your hands! Take the precautions you need.
Julia: Yup, and we’ll talk to you next time.
Kathy: We’ll talk to later.