‘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. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” ~ Isaiah 41:13-14
When I was a young girl my mom sang in the church choir. She would have choir practice at the church one evening per week. While she was practicing, I was left with the other kids to entertain ourselves. This usually involved a lot of running, going places around the church we weren’t allowed in and being very noisy. We were hollered at repeatedly. Sometimes, when our behavior was too disruptive, we would have to sit in a pew and observe the entire practice. Being a high energy 10-year-old forced to sit still and be quiet was challenging, boring and downright awful. Considering I was benched on a church pew a handful of times I wasn’t only hyperactive and noisy, I was also a slow learner.
One particular cause for disruption was centered around crickets. During certain times of the year, the sidewalks and other areas of the church had an abundance of the big black yucky jumping beasts. By big I mean they were probably 1 inch in size! But let’s be real-that is BIG for a bug, right?!
I have no idea who devised the evil plan but at some point during cricket season the boys in our group decided throwing these bugs at us girls would be their source of entertainment for the evening. Each girl scream prompted boy laughter. It became a disruptive cycle that was definitely heard over the church organ and choir vocals. It was also an event that got some of us, including myself, stuck in a pew for the next choir practice. Cricket throwing was so entertaining that it occurred on multiple occasions.
One of the best pieces of advice my mother gave me was centered around this event. She had grown quite frustrated with the situation and me for disrupting choir practice. One day she said to me, “They only throw crickets at you to get a reaction from you. If you don’t react they’ll eventually quit throwing them.” Being a head strong child determined to do her own thing, I didn’t always take my mother’s advice or listen to her rules. But I did this time. In fact, I went a step further with it. When the boys threw crickets at me, I didn’t scream. I picked those nasty bugs up and threw them right back. I threw them back for my own defense and in defense of the other girls (who by the way we’re still screaming and running away.) My momma was right. When those boys saw I wasn’t scared anymore, they stopped throwing crickets.
The enemy uses fear the same way those boys did, to get a reaction from us. He uses repeated situations and circumstances to keep us afraid. He throws things like rejection, conflict, busyness, failure, exhaustion, and defeat that cause us to scream, cry, argue, become depressed, feel anxious, and even develop recurring health problems that disrupt our lives and relationships. If we’re not careful, we can become enslaved to what we fear and misinterpret people’s words and actions. We can actually expect what we fear.
God is not a spirit of fear. He does not bring rejection, anxiety, depression or defeat. Repeatedly He tells us He is on our side and He will deliver us from the hands of our true enemy. God did not make us to be His puppets but when we give into fear, we allow satan to be our puppet master. Repeatedly God’s word says “DO NOT FEAR.”
Just like those boys, satan will keep throwing fear at us as long as he can get a reaction. The best way to defeat him is to throw the fear back.
Are you wrestling with rejection? Remind yourself that in Genesis God said “It is not good for man to be alone…” and in Ecclesiastes He said again, “Two are better than one…” Psalm 68:6 begins with “God settles the lonely in families…” God does not call us to journey life alone. He gifts us with families, friendships, church bodies, and other relationships to do life with. Families aren’t always biological but I know from experience that God can gift us with people who feel more like family than our own blood relation.
Worried about your relationship? Stand on God’s truth and tell satan he can’t have it. Worried about your children? Guess what! They were God’s before they were yours. Remind satan to Whom they really belong to and that he cannot have them. Worried about your job? God gave it to you and only He has the power to take it away. But He promises to always take care of us.
No matter what your fear is, God has scripture to combat it. Scripture and prayer are the best weapons to throw at the enemy. Every time you worry, experience racing thoughts, feel so anxious you physically feel like vomiting, pray, get into God’s word, google “verses for fear, rejection, anxiety, etc.”, read a devotional or several at a time or listen to songs that remind you of His deliverance. If you’re able to, profess aloud God’s ultimate power and control and His ability to conquer our enemy.
It’s been 30+ years since I had a cricket thrown at me. But they still make me scream. Just this morning one jumped on and at me invoking a high pitched squeal to come from my voice box multiple times. It literally felt like the cricket was attacking me. Every time it jumped, I jumped and squealed. This went on until it made its escape underneath my kitchen island. I looked for it to kill it but it found safety in a secret hiding place.
This morning’s event reminded me not only how we can become enslaved to fear but how small our fears really are when we measure them up to our God. A black cricket is typically no bigger than the size of a peanut shell. I am over five feet tall. I have the power to crush this bug with my bare hands (although I wouldn’t for the simple fact that bug guts on my fingers would gross me out!) Yet fear gave the bug power over me. Rejection and other debilitating fears are just as tiny when compared to God’s power and His promises. God is in control and He promises to squash our enemy like a bug some day. But He also gives us the authority to squash the enemy too. Luke 10:19 tells us this; ““Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.”
The next time satan throws fear at you, throw back scripture, prayer and God’s truth. Watch the enemy get squashed like a bug, scorpion or snake! God is in control and His power makes us powerful and fearless. Do not be afraid!
When I was a child attending Sunday School and Vacation Bible Schools, often I was given the assignment of memorizing and reciting verses. I was even on a team that competed against other church youth groups that involved memorizing specific Bible passages in order to answer trivia like questions. I didn’t take any of it seriously unless it involved winning a prize. Memorizing scripture just wasn’t an interest of mine back then.
As an adult I’ve participated in Bible studies that encouraged scripture memorization also. This time I worked harder at reading and re-reading verse sets in order to have them permanently written down in my mental Rolodex. But to this day there are only a few verses I can repeat from memory. Most verses I cite end up being a paraphrased version and I rarely remember the book/chapter I found them in. Thank God, literally, for Google. I rely on it greatly when I’m blogging or just have a fragment of a verse in my mind and want to know all of it and it’s reference in the Bible.
But what about verses that trigger certain memories? Have you experienced this before? Perhaps when you’re struggling and don’t know what to do, the Lord sends you Proverbs 3:5-6 reminding you to trust in Him, not leaning on your own understanding, acknowledge Him and knowing He will make your path straight. Perhaps when the battle seems impossible or too brutal to keep fighting God sends you Exodus 14:14 reminding you that He is fighting for you so stay calm and be still. Maybe you struggle with body image and the Lord sends you Psalms 139:14 to remind you that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Maybe He even delivers verses through a specific friend and whenever you see that verse it reminds you of that special person.
What do you do with those kinds of “memory” verses? If they’re reminding you of who you are in Christ-you praise Him. If they’re reminding you of God’s abilities-you stand on His truth, get out of His way and trust He is fighting for you. If they remind you of a specific person, you pray for them.
Two years ago, I received Isaiah 43:2 from a friend as part of a goodbye message. Today, that verse showed up in my Bible app once again. It prompted me to reread the conversation that took place between us. In it, we both promised to continuously pray for each other. If I’m being honest, I haven’t been faithful in keeping that promise. So today, I am praying and restoring that promise. God is a man of His word and made me to be a woman who keeps her word also. Today, I pray that when this friend goes through deep waters they remember that God is with them. When they travel through rivers of difficulty, I pray they are at peace knowing God will not let them drown. When they walk through fires of oppression I pray they know God will not let them be burned up nor will they be consumed by the flames. Lastly I pray they are saturated in God’s truth, wisdom and grace knowing who they are in Him, trusting in Him with all their heart, leaning on His understand, not their own, and being still knowing He is fighting for them. In Jesus’ name, Amen! Who is God reminding you to pray for today?💜