Overwhelming Fear and Intentional Courage

Overwhelming Fear and Intentional Courage

“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


    • D. Ray

      You’re welcome!

  1. Annette

    “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 Our pain will not last forever. All of this is temporary, glory is eternal. God is good. Be blessed brother.

    • D. Ray

      Thank you, Annette. I love 2 Corinthians 4:17, and it carries richness for all of us.

  2. Anonymous

    So true… it’s easy to let our loss and grief give way to fear…a fear preventing us from living fully! For a long time, I was merely existing, not truly living!

    Abundant living does require faith…. a trust that He DOES absolutely uphold us in His righteous right hand( I love Isaiah 41:10, it was a verse I’ve breathed in many a day since 2014). That being said, we must seek that out-stretched hand, accept that strength, and truly live. Thank you for your courage every week!


    • D. Ray

      Thank you, Kathi. You’re blazing a trail for others. You’re experiencing the fruit of intentional courage.

  3. Annette

    Mine too D. Ray. Grateful for the promises.

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