The nation was stunned last week when Islamic terrorism struck San Bernardino. Fun loving party-goers were suddenly sprayed with automatic weapons. The plot shows a deep hatred for Americans and sinister preparation to kill. Everyone is thinking, “What’s next?” I remember a time when I was a missionary in Nigeria. I was staying in a downtown Lagos hotel, well known for violence and danger. Everyone talked about the armed robbers who went room to room and robbed the guests in the middle of the night. Suddenly, at midnight, I heard gunfire outside my window answered by a second weapon firing. Loud footsteps ran down the hall in front of my room. I dove under the bed and stayed there until morning. I bravely crept out of my room, stopping at the desk to inquire if they caught the criminals. “Oh,” the desk clerk replied. “That was just the night watchmen firing their guns to let each other know everything was all right!”
Fear is a normal reaction to a perceived danger. Yes, mass shootings are occurring almost weekly. Gun and bullet sales are through the roof. People are concerned to go to a mall. Every footstep or out of the ordinary motion makes people jumpy.
Here are the five things I use to combat fear:
- Faith is the opposite of fear. Faith comes from a Hebrew word (“aman”) that refers to a baby laying back in the arms of a nursing mother. The baby feels no anxiety or danger. He rests in his mother’s protection. God is holding us, sheltering us, delivering us.
- Psalms 118 is one of my favorite passages: “His love endures forever.” It goes on to describe how God’s love rescued him in his distress. I recommend you read this psalm every day when you feel stress and anxiety about the future. This is the “hymn” Jesus sang before He went out to the Garden of Gethsemane!
- Paul told us to “cast down imaginations and every high thought…” I address thoughts of fear that enter my mind and tell them out loud, “You are a lie.” Thoughts come from the enemy and directly oppose God’s promises. LAUGH AT THOSE THOUGHTS.
- You cannot watch CNN (Constantly Negative News) and overcome fear. What you see is what you get! Don’t fail to read your daily Bible reading even one day. God will speak to you and reassure you, filling your mind with things that are “lovely, pure, and honorable.” Don’t allow constant news updates to enter your thinking any more than a garbage truck to unload on your front yard.
- Worship makes you feel strong. Sing the psalms and hymns like Paul did at midnight in the Philippian jail. It’s hard to adore an all powerful God and then fear a finite, human enemy.
The reality is that we are facing a very powerful, violent enemy. The TRUTH is, God is on our side!
If you would like to know the 5 leadership principles I work hard to maintain check out THIS POST.
I would love to know your thoughts on the San Bernardino shooting and what you have found helpful to remain calm, strong, and focused during this present crisis?