I awakened in the morning with fear in my throat, and found myself trying to swallow the acrid taste of it. There was no immediate cause, but the irrational fear was overtaking my thoughts. It had probably been building for some time. My husband Bob’s Parkinson’s and Lewy Body dementia had been getting worse, and I was thinking of the future.
Some weeks before, I had awakened from a dream in which Bob and I were in a rowboat on what seemed like the ocean. It was foggy and dark, and I was aware that the bow of the rowboat was going under and water was pouring in. Bob and I were the only ones around, and there was no one to help us. When I awoke, I realized that the dream was an allegory of our lives with Parkinson’s.
When I awoke, I felt paralyzed—I could not even find the words to pray. But I knew that God’s presence and reassurance was what I needed more than anything, so I texted both my daughter and son, “Please pray for me!”
There are more commands in the Bible to “fear not” than any other instruction given to us. God tells us in so many ways—be not afraid, fear not, have courage—and he bolsters that command with the reason we are not to be afraid. Isaiah 41:10 tells us, “Do not fear, for I am with you. I will strengthen and help you.” I asked my artist granddaughter to paint that verse on a canvas where I can see it every morning while I have my breakfast and read my Bible.
Yet in our human condition, the icy hand of fear can grip us suddenly, unreasonably. What are we to do with that? Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.” God tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 that “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
There can be many sources for our fear. Financial situations, current events, health scares, relationship problems, and many other things can bring fear to us. God is not surprised by our fear, nor does he turn his face in disappointment when we have fear. He knows our hearts, and he understands us. God’s prescription and his antidote for us is: “I will trust in you.”
Psalm 118:5 says, “In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free.” The psalmist also tells us, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
I am so grateful God helped me through that time of fear. One of the things that helped me was to fix his words in my heart. I study his word regularly, and understanding his truths reassures me that he is with me and has my best interests at heart. Fear may return, for one reason or another, but I know that God is on my side. He knows everything that comes into my life. He gives me the reassurance that “no weapon forged against you will prevail.” I can have victory over fear!
Patsy Pearson is a mother and grandmother who lives in New Hope, MN. She loves going to her grandkids’ basketball games, volunteering, writing, and good coffee.