What If I’m Afraid?

Chuck SwindollBy Chuck Swindoll5 Minutes

Did you know you have an enemy of your soul who would love nothing more than to paralyze you with fear and finish you off spiritually? To make matters worse, he knows all about you, including every chink in your armor. You can’t stand against him in your own strength.

Peter writes these compelling words:

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT).

Our enemy prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour. The Greek word translated “devour” (katapino) means “to drink down.” We would render it “to swallow.” That’s Satan’s aim. He isn’t simply interested in unnerving you with a certain threat or causing a bit of havoc in your life. No, that would be too easy. He’s determined to swallow you whole. He has been stalking you since you entered God’s family.

In his essay “The Minister’s Fainting Fits” from Lectures to My Students, the late British pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon writes:

The biographies of eminent ministers … prove that seasons of fearful prostration have fallen to the lot of most, if not all, of [us].

He then writes of his own struggles with discouragement and depression:

You’re not alone. I understand. Better yet, the Lord understands. Some of the hardest days in my life are Mondays, the days after Sundays when I’ve experienced such emotional and spiritual highs. Those are the times when I sense the devil stalking me – he knows I’m weak and already vulnerable to an attack. When I remember all the things I wish I hadn’t said. Or rehearse in my mind those things I did say or wish I’d have said differently. That’s when he pounces. Staying alert to those subtle yet sinister times, acknowledging weakness in those moments helps me stand firm against him.

In the days when I was preparing to write about this topic, I received a note from a longtime friend of mine. In his email, he included the words to the old gospel hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour”:

I need Thee every hour, Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine Can peace afford.
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee!

As I read his note and sang those tender words in my mind, I began to blink through tears. I felt the Lord’s powerful, understanding presence come over me and calm my restless mind. Peace and reassurance rolled in. That’s how faithful our Lord is, even on our dark days when trouble pushes its way into our heads.

The message of that hymn is true. It’s true for you, and it’s true for your spouse, your children, and your grandchildren. It’s true for your neighbor and your close friend. We all need Him. Every hour of every day, we need Him. We must stop our habit of trying to make it alone. There’s no need for that, especially in times like these.

So if you feel unsafe or threatened, run to Him – don’t run from Him. Run to Him, and He will be your Comforter, your Protector, your Defender, and your intimate, understanding Friend.

Taken from What If…God Has Other Plans? by Charles R. Swindoll, © 2019. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.