Fear of Something Bad Happening

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Have you ever had a feeling, a fear really, that something bad was going to happen? Like, not just regular bad, something epic? My son went through this phase when he was younger when he was afraid to bathe. No, it wasn’t just the regular boys-don’t-like-to-bathe thing. This was an I’m-afraid-to-bathe-because-I-think-a-shark-is-going-to-come-through-the-shower-head thing.

I know. For weeks, I tried to convince him of the irrationality of a shark coming through the shower head. Not only would a shark have to somehow get into our water catchment area, it would have to survive going through the water treatment process. It would have to fit into the tiny pipes (at least compared to a shark) and come into our house.

Then, I tried to convince him, even if the shark did manage to survive all that, what are the odds that of all the pipes in Jamaica he would come through ours? And how would he fit through the tiny holes just big enough for a drop of water?

‘It’s a dwarf shark.’ he responded. He offered no explanation about how the shark would survive the water purification process. Nor did he explain how the shark would fit through the nozzles in the shower head (a dwarf shark is between 6-77 centimeters long). No amount of reasoning could convince him that his imminent death by shark attack wouldn’t happen with his next shower.

Like my son, sometimes we become convinced that something bad is going to happen. Sometimes we have an idea of what that “bad thing” will be. Other times it’s just a feeling. This fear can become so prevalent that we can focus on nothing else.

Learning to Overcome a Fear of Something Bad Happening

How do we overcome a fear that’s all in our heads? I can think of a couple of ways.

1. The first step is to recognize that oftentimes a situation is much worse in our minds. Our imaginations often make things bigger in our heads than they truly are.

2. Remember that Jesus is our refuge. One of my favorite Bible characters is David, simply because he is so vivid in the Scriptures. Now, that could simply be that more was written about David than any other Old Testament person, but what I love about David is how transparent he is.

David always seems to be in the middle of some great drama. And a lot of the times his fears plague him to the point that he can’t sleep at nights. Over and over again we see him crying out to God asking God to be:

  • his shelter (Psalm 46:1),
  • his refuge (Psalm 62:7),
  • his strong tower (Psalm 61:3),
  • his fortress (Psalm 91:2),
  • his shield (Psalm 3:3), and,
  • his defense (Psalm 59:16-17). 

David knew that the key to overcoming a fear of something bad happening was to keep his eyes focused on God. 

He did that by calling on God passionately, earnestly and frequently. We have the same opportunity today. When we feel afraid that something bad is going to happen, call on God. James tells us that the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Like me, I know you may wonder just how righteous you are, but the beauty about sincere prayer is that it gives us a connection with Christ. It is His righteousness that God sees and appoints to us.

Challenge: Write down the bad things that you fear can happen to you. Then, search the Psalms and write down verses that can encourage you.

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