There I sat, in the middle of the bare, hardwood floor of my just-above-ground-level apartment. It was January in Minnesota, and I was wondering where my extra blanket could be. Newly married, I was waiting anxiously to start my first ever full-time job the next week. It was before the days of cell phones, and we didn’t even have enough money yet to afford a landline phone. I had been alone for hours, unpacking box after box of items that needed to find a home in our first place together, while my husband was at university and then work. He had taken our only car with him, an orange and white Ford Pinto that had seen many better days.
Like a shot, it sounded like all hell was breaking loose in the apartment above me. Slamming, shouting, profanity, screaming, pounding, crying… I was shocked at what was happening overhead. It sounded like furniture was shattering as it was being thrown into walls… and maybe even people. I was petrified.
We had chosen our humble abode mostly because of it’s inexpensive rent and proximity to the university. We had not considered security too highly on the list. An older building, the ancient wooden doors were so thin I could have busted through them myself, let alone a drunken guy with an ax. My imagination was beginning to run wild.
Rocking back and forth with my arms wrapped around my suddenly freezing body, I tried to put two thoughts together. What could I do? Where could I go? How could I help? Should I even try to help? What if he left his apartment above on a rampage and passed by my door still full of rage on his way out of the building?
I cried out to God in my fear and he met me there.
All of the sudden, peace shot into my heart. I heard these words in my spirit: Nothing can pass through that door that I do not allow. You are safe in my hand.
I sat back against the couch and continued to pray and thank God for his protection over me, and for the situation and people involved in the apartment above. I began to worship, and didn’t even realize when the noise and chaos died down. I just realized that when I stopped praying and singing, there was no other noise to be heard – besides the humming of the refrigerator and the cars driving by on the slushy street outside the window.
That was probably my first experience with body and mind-numbing fear. Many times in my life since then, fear has tried to suffocate me and bind up my freedom and trust in God. But fear has not won! I’ve reminded myself over and over of God’s promise to me: Nothing can happen to me that God does not allow. It has to pass through his permission to get to me.
The Bible says that God’s perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). God doesn’t send us fear, but instead gives us power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Whom shall I fear? The Lord is with me, protecting me (Psalm 27:1). The Lord is personally with me, and he will not leave or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6). God is our hiding place; he fills our hearts with songs of victory (Psalm 32:7).
At any given time, if we have a relationship with Christ, we have the power and authority to tell fear and anxiety to
be gone in our lives. If we’ve opened the door to fearful things on purpose (like watching horror movies, reading scary books, and the like), we can ask God to forgive us and then shut that door of permission on the enemy of our souls. Once the permission has been removed, we can renounce fear – declaring that we want nothing else to do
with it – and tell it to be gone, once and for all. And then we can ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with his peace. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
We have the choice to live in fear or in faith. We really do.