God knows our fears. It is usual for us to be secretive of our fears. We keep them inside because telling others about things that we fear make us vulnerable. And the feeling of vulnerability is not something comfortable for many of us. We hide our fears from people and sometimes we pretend that everything is all right. We do not want people to think that feeling fear is a sign of weakness. We do not want to appear weak before the eyes of other people.
What I find amazing is that our feelings of fear and doubt do not repel God from us. God does not label us as coward or weak when we feel afraid. In the Bible, whenever God meets a man who is fearful, God never turns away. He deals kindly, gently, and patiently as a loving father is to his child. So, His Word always instructs us not to fear. He always tells us, as if reminding us all the time and knowing that we easily fear and we easily forget, to “do not fear”.
“For I, Yahweh your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I will help you.’ ”– Isaiah 41:13 (WEB)
God does not leave us alone in our fears. Instead, He stays with us, comforts us, assures us, and helps us overcome our fears.
Look at Gideon. From the moment God told him he will lead Israel to fight against the Midianites, he was already fearful and doubtful. Even up to the time when God was keenly close to Him, giving Him instruction one by one to choose the group of men to be with him, and when God assured him, “I will save you by the three hundred men who lapped, and deliver the Midianites into your hand” (Judges 7:7), still Gideon was afraid.
How did God treat Gideon for being this fearful?
“That same night, Yahweh said to him, ‘Arise, go down into the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp. You will hear what they say; and afterward your hands will be strengthened to go down into the camp.’ ”– Judges 7:9-11 (WEB)
Gideons fear was not unreasonable because the armed men of Midianites and Amalekites were too many like multitudes of locusts and their camels like sand on the seashore (Judges 7:12). Gideon then went to the camp of the enemy with Purah and there they heard one man telling a dream to his fellow. The man dreamed that a cake of barley bread tumbled down the camp of the Midian and destroyed the camp to which the fellow interpreted it as no other than the defeat of Midian under the hand of Gideon (Judges 7:13-14).
“It was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. Then he returned into the camp of Israel and said, ‘Arise, for Yahweh has delivered the army of Midian into your hand!’ ”– Judges 7:15 (WEB)
God helped Gideon overcome his fear. He made a way for Gideon to have courage. He does the same thing to us today. When we are afraid, we can call on God for help ans seek His comfort and strength. God is a compassionate Father who cares for us. He makes a way for us to overcome our fears and enables us to rise up out of the fear. He gives us confidence. His Word is true when it says,
“He gives power to the weak. He increases the strength of him who has no might.”– Isaiah 40:29 (WEB)
When Gideon realized that God indeed had given Midian into his hands, fear was replaced with courage and confidence. His first reponse was to worship God. This is the response of any one who has been delivered by God. When we know that it is God who delivers us from our fears, we cannot help but worship the LORD. When Gideon overcame His fear, He worshipped God. Such is the effect of fear to us. When we are fearful, we cannot see God’s hand upon us because we look, not at God, but to the things happening around us. Fear stops us from looking unto God. But, as always, God makes a way for us to gaze at Him and to shift our eyes towards Him. Then, fear dissolves.