"Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."
- Isaiah 41:10 MSG
When my youngest sister went through a long period of unemployment some time ago, she began to grow fearful of the future. Even though she had been careful with her finances for years, she now saw them dwindling before her eyes. Things got so bad at one point that she began to seriously consider selling her beautiful home. As she tearfully shared her reluctant decision with me, we both decided that she should not panic, but that she should continue to pray and trust God for His provision. Just a few short weeks later, the Lord provided a wonderful new job for my sister that enabled her to abandon all thoughts of selling her home. Her experience proved to be a powerful lesson and warning to me when my husband, Joe, had to endure a long period of unemployment of his own. Each time I began to panic, and to entertain the idea of having to sell our home, I'd remember my sister's situation, and how much it would have cost her if she hadn't continued to stand in faith for her deliverance.
During this time, the Lord led me to a passage in the Gospel of Mark, where the disciples were caught in a fierce storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was in the same boat, but He was sound asleep. In a panic, the disciples woke Him up and asked Him, "Master, do You not care that we are perishing?" (Mark 4:38 AMP) Jesus got up and rebuked the storm, but He rebuked His disciples, too. "Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (no firmly relying trust)?" (Mark 4:40 AMP) In other words, the Lord was saying, "Why are you panicking, when you should be using your faith?"
The dictionary defines the word "panic" as "a sudden overpowering feeling of terror. " This kind of overwhelming fear will cause us to make hasty decisions that we will most likely regret later on. It will cause us to focus on our problems, instead of on God's ability and willingness to help. And it will rob us of the supernatural peace and joy that Jesus died for us to have. When I was tempted to panic during those long months of my husband's unemployment, I would often declare, "I will keep my mind stayed on You, Lord, and I will trust in You, and You will keep me in perfect peace." (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV) As I shifted my focus from my problems to the Problem Solver, my emotions calmed down, and I was able to think more clearly, and to pray more effectively. Fears of losing my home eventually evaporated, and I experienced a new resolve to trust the Lord for our deliverance.
It was a wise man who said, "Faith is the refusal to panic. " If you are in a trial today, ask yourself, "How can I demonstrate my faith in God in this situation? And what do I stand to lose if I fail to trust Him?"
Prayer: Lord, I ask that You strengthen my faith in You, Your goodness, and Your power, so that in times of trouble, I will not allow my circumstances to intimidate me. Help me to devote myself to Your Word, which You said will increase my faith. (Romans 10:17) Give me the courage to declare with conviction, "I refuse to doubt my God!"
- J. M. Farro