26 Aug Fear on the Rise
2 Timothy 1:7 – …for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Genesis 32:11 – Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children.
Fear in this world has been at an all-time high over the past two or so years, especially due to public health and safety matters. With the entire world locked down and people sent home for weeks and months at a time, mental illness, anxiety, and depression have been on the rise according to one study.
A recent study in the Journal of Affective Disorders shows that over 60% of college students met the criteria for mental illness between 2020-21 and that anxiety and depression are up 135% and 110% respectively since 2013. (1)
Specifically, eating disorders have increased by 96%, non-suicidal self-injury by 46%, and suicidal ideation by 64%. In addition, the CDC found that 44% of teenagers felt “hopeless or persistently sad” in the first part of 2021.
In attempts to protect physical health, it seems the opposite has happened when it comes to mental health. So, what’s the solution?
Over 300 times throughout Scripture, nearly one for every day, we’re told to “Fear not”. It’s the most frequently used commandment throughout the entire Bible. Why? Because we’re going to find different and new ways and reasons to fear and freak out every single day.
The opposite of fear is faith in a God that knows all, sees all, and rules all. He knows and ordains what will happen long before we ever learn about it. Fear is a false prophet and can do more harm than the person or thing you fear and entered the world along with sin (Genesis 3:10).
In Genesis, Jacob is afraid that his brother Esau is going to continue his hatred towards him and potentially even kill him. But, he presses on in faith and is rewarded with forgiveness by his brother.
To counteract fear, we must act in faith by praying, worshipping, and seeking God’s will. We must not try to control the outcome of our lives but do the best we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, with the information we have. Sometimes, turning to God in faith and prayer is the only way we can fight fear. As Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
This week, in times of fear, I would encourage you to stop, be still before the Lord, and ask Him for supernatural faith, peace, calm, and strength. This will encourage and strengthen you more than any amount of worrying will ever do.
What are you currently fearing other than the Lord? Ask God to help replace your fear with faith.
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