“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”—Psalm 23:4 (NIV).
On April 29, I found myself huddled in a closet with my dog. Tornado sirens were blaring for the second time that evening. I took deep breaths, and then exhaled prayers for safety, not only for myself, but for everyone who was in the path of the storms relentlessly barreling across several states that day.
According to the news, at least 18 tornadoes were sighted across Oklahoma this past Monday, leaving behind destruction and flooding with the torrential rains that also fell. Two people were killed and 22 injuries were reported. While there have been deadlier tornadoes and destruction, living in a state known as tornado alley can lead even the most fearless person to shelter when the sirens go off.
When Fear Governs Your Life
I’ve overcome most of the fears from my past—the ones holding me hostage, the ones keeping me from stepping outside of my comfort zone and the ones denying me a joy-filled life.
Before a tornado hit my previous house in Claremore in 2016, I never feared stormy weather. Growing up in Louisiana, I survived multiple hurricanes during my 16 years living there. I can’t recall being fearful. We always had plenty of advance warning to prepare or evacuate.
Although I know God watches over me, I can’t stop racing to my hidey-hole when I hear the warning sirens. Even though I prepare in advance with pillows and blankets piled on the floor of my closet, the sound of approaching danger rules my human heart, which threatens to jump out of my chest.
I seldom post prayer requests on social media, but when we’re under a tornado watch, I ask for prayers when the siren warns our area to take cover. And, I’m blessed when my friends respond with their prayers for my safety.
Praying Through the Storms of Life
Prayer should be the answer when we’re facing any of life’s storms. We all struggle at times with different fears. Whether it’s threatening weather, a bad report from the doctor, financial problems or other unexpected life crises, remembering our Creator is always with us can bring peace. God wants us to “fear not.”
Does being fearful mean we have no faith? Pastor and author Max Lucado says, “The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith. Fear visits everyone. But make your fear a visitor and not a resident.”
I’ve overcome most of my past fears: being judged, not being good enough, public speaking, traveling outside this country, and not having enough money. However, it has taken years of trusting God and remembering He is my protector, my provider and my Heavenly Father who loves me enough to call me His child.
Letting Go of Childish Fears
As a child, I was fearful of many things, including the dark. I was also afraid of failing, not living up to other’s expectations, and of disappointing those around me. I carried most of these fears with me into adulthood, except for the fear of the darkness.
Along with each birthday, though, my fears changed. My fears were focused on my sons. What if they were hurt, or worse, killed? What if? What if? What if?
Most of those “what if” scenarios never materialized. I think that’s the case for most of us who worry, who fear the worst—the worst that seldom happens.
None of us is Immune
Is anyone immune to fear? If your heart is beating, I doubt it. Media, including social media, can stir up a firestorm of “what if’s” with reports of shootings, bombings and other disasters. I think we need a reminder: God is in control.
When we’re in doubt, when fear threatens to choke the life out of us, we need to recall the number of times in scripture that God has said, “Fear not.” He’s always with us.
We can’t let fear dominate our lives. Faith is the answer…unshakeable faith in a God who loves us more than life itself.
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