“My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.” Psalms 55:4-5

To put the imagery of daunting doorways and worrisome walls into other language, I realized I was truly facing overwhelming fear—even dread. However, I could seek to ask God for the courage I would need. And I could walk in faith. I needed to be intentional. Haphazard or aimless would not work. Always responding would not work. Always on-the-defense would not work. I had to be proactive.

I would have to plan to have intentional courage. But my courage must be nested in the reality that I am walking with Christ, leaning on him. God is with me. Immanuel. Psalm 139:7-12 is a wonderful reminder that can be embraced to produce courage:

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:7-12

There is something reassuring about setting temporal circumstances in an eternal perspective. Seriously, where can we go where we are not in his watchful care? I cannot go down, up, or sideways and depart from his presence. In him, dark is light. He is the author of all life, and he makes everything beautiful and reassuring. And he gives me courage.

Matt Boswell. Matt Papa, Stuart Townend, and Keith Getty wrote a song, Sing We the Song of Emmanuel. God sent us his Son to be with us, Immanuel. His appearing upon earth delivered our rescue from sin and separation and thus delivered our joy, peace, and light. They sing:

“Joy and peace for the weary heart. Lift up your heads, for your King has come. Sing for the light overwhelms the dark.”

I have a choice in the face of overwhelming fear. I can succumb to my distress, or I can intentionally rest in courage made available by faith and trust in God. I can stand upon a sure foundation and press into the fear. I’m learning that when fear accosts me, courage and endurance are available like sufficient grace and new mercies. He is faithful, but you must step out. Faith without a response—or without works—is dead.

Overwhelming fear must be met with intentional courage.

“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” Psalm 31:24