• Rev. Mark Tews

Hear and Heed: Conclusion

WHEN CONFRONTED WITH FEAR, TAKE HIS HAND. "For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you." (Isaiah 41:13). When you know that fear is about to enter your heart, reject it and divert your thoughts toward something good. Think of God's goodness, His love, and His strength. He will help you. He is right there beside you. He is our strong tower. He is our deliverer. Take his hand and hold on tight. I assure you that fear will leave you because fear cannot stand in God's presence. Fear cannot stand up to God's power. Fear only grows when you listen to it and entertain it. So, when confronted with fear, take God's hand and your fear will be overcome.

WHEN CONFRONTED WITH FEAR, RECEIVE HIS PEACE. "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (Isaiah 26:3). The more we talk to God through prayer and read His word, the more fear will flee from our hearts. The more you enjoy the songs in worship and lift our praise to God, the more fear will be defeated. The more you allow His Word to fill your hearts, the more peace will enter. Do you have paralyzing fears? Immerse yourself in God's Word, in praise and worship, and receive God’s peace.

I recently searched for previous moments in American history when paralyzing fear swept through our land, much like it has in our current day and June 17, 1916 was one of those moments. Do you know what happened on that day? It was the day that it was officially announced in New York that they were in the midst of an epidemic polio infection. That year, there were over 27,000 cases and more than 6,000 deaths due to polio all over the United States. During that time, no vaccines had been developed against polio and fear was the dominant factor among Americans.

The names and addresses of individuals with confirmed polio cases were published daily in the press. Their houses were identified with placards and their families were quarantined. These were not the names of drug pushers or sexual predators being identified, just polio victims. Think how devastating it must have been if just one member in your family contracted the disease and the whole family ends up being rejected by society.

That was the situation at that time. At that time, the nature of the disease remained largely a mystery. One day you had a headache and an hour later you were paralyzed. How far the virus crept up your spine determined whether you could walk afterward or even breathe. The polio epidemic caused widespread panic and thousands fled the city to nearby mountain resorts. Movie theaters were closed, meetings were canceled, public gatherings were almost non-existent, and children were warned not to drink from water fountains. Paralyzing fear was all over the country.

But one man overcame the fear of polio. Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted the disease in 1921 and was paralyzed from the waist down. It could have cast his political career into jeopardy. However, in spite of his condition, he refused to accept the limitations of the disease. He refused to give up. He tried a wide range of therapies that failed many times. And then, another crisis began; the Great Depression which crippled the economy of the United States from 1929 to 1939.

Millions of Americans lost their jobs. However, President Roosevelt did not allow fear to dominate his thinking. He fought fear with optimism and his faith in God sustained him. He said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Eventually, the country came out of the Great Depression and into World War II. He was the only president to win four presidential elections. By the way, it was only in the late 1950's that a successful vaccine against polio was introduced in the United States.

Imagine facing such strong opponents, all at the same time: being a polio victim, the Great Depression, and impending world war. How do you get through all of that? By pushing forward in the grace of God. Either you allow fear to paralyze you or you allow God to overcome your fears by taking His hand, trusting in His Word, and humbly receiving His peace.