Have you ever read a passage in the bible—one you’ve read many times before—and God just speaks to you?
I don’t know how many times I’ve read about Saul’s and David’s lives. But this time? The Lord has shown me many things I never considered before. I noticed how differently Saul and David responded to fearful situations in our lives.
Maybe the stories of these two men spoke so deeply to my heart because I, too, have dealt with fear. I discovered some valuable, timeless lessons to take away from their examples.
This is the fourth and final post in this series. If you’ve missed past posts, you can find them here. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey to better understanding fear and how deal with it when it tests our faith.
A few years back, one of the boys and I went through a difficult season. The hard-heartedness, back-talk, stubbornness, unwillingness to yield . . . had me on my knees in prayer and praying throughout each day.
The “rebellious force” was strong with this one. He had his agenda, and it didn’t match mine. One morning, I was driving somewhere talking with the Lord about this child. Fear had dug in, sprinkling in doubt and worry about the upcoming teen years. I couldn’t even handle him at nine.
The Lord told me that I was not to worry about the teen years. He shared that He was using each day, every current interaction with our boys, to form me into the mother I’d need to be in future years. Kind of like stepping stones. Walking through ups and downs with our kids would prepare me for when they arrived at thirteen and beyond.
I look at Saul and how he clung to his reign with a vice-like grip. He knew God said the kingdom would be stripped from him and given to another. But he refused to accept this. Instead of having a repentant heart, his heart grew harder. More calloused.
Saul feared David because he knew God was with David. When our eyes are on ourselves—when our hearts are self-focused—our ugly inside tends to spew outward. Saul’s ugly was revealed as he plotted ways to “kill the competition.” But God protected the younger man.
He witnessed his own plans coming to ruin. Had Saul begun preparing his son Jonathan to take the throne when he died? Perhaps he had plans for the nation. He probably had plans for his own future as king of Israel.
Fear drove Saul to clamp onto his agenda, which ran contrary to God’s intentions. He fought God to establish his plans, but God thwarted him.
David handled his fear in a different way. He cried out to the Lord when he was afraid.
David listened and continued to seek God. He asked for God’s wisdom, listened to God’s plans, and obeyed them. And God honored this. God’s agenda was carried out through David.
As I’ve studied these two men, I noticed defining things about fear:
- We all face fear during seasons in our lives. The question is, what will we do with it? We always have a choice of how we’ll respond.
- Saul allowed fear to rule him. It prompted him to hold tightly to what he thought was his. This hardened his heart and pushed him to courses of action borne from deep insecurity.
- David turned to God and laid open his heart before the Lord. He trusted God to hear him and offer counsel. David followed God’s leading and experienced God’s favor.
- When God asks us to obey Him in a fear-inducing way—maybe by encouraging us to do something that seems crazy or way outside our comfort zones—our choice will lead to blessings or regret. Obeying His direction doesn’t always make life easier, but it inevitably draws us closer to the Lord and offers us peace. Giving fear the upper hand and chasing our agenda instead of God’s leads to unsettledness and to distancing from the One who loves us most.
- Trusting God is the only way to overcome fear’s influence. We can only see from one moment to the next. But He knows the path to bring us beyond fear. He knows the plans He has for us, and He knows our future.
Both of our boys are now teens. We still have hard days. But God has shown me the truth of His words from that difficult morning a few years back. I’m not the perfect mom, but He’s shared insights into our sons that help me navigate the tough seasons. He also gives me His eyes to view them through a lens of love and grace and not just frustration.
When fear creeps in, throwing worst-case scenarios into my thoughts, I’m learning to ask God to help me keep my thoughts on what’s true. To trust His guidance when I can’t see the way forward.
Here is a closing thought from blogging friend and author, Betsy DeCruz (find out more about Betsy here)
“Fear makes us feel we’re on shaky ground, but with God we’re on holy ground. So take courage for your next step, my friend. God will never leave you, and He will not fail you.” ~Betsy DeCruz
What about you? What helps you make good choices when what you want is different from what God’s telling you? What’s your best tip for overcoming fear?
One more song that has honed my perspective about fear:
I’m linking up with #TellHisStory