False Expectations Appearing Real is an acronym for the word FEAR. I’ve found this to be an accurate description of my thinking for much of my life, as I’ve dreaded some event in the future. My thoughts were continually dwelling on the worst possible scenario in which I was anticipating failure, embarrassment and rejection from others. This is why I always avoided volunteering to do anything in public at school, such as reading the Bible in assemblies..
At the age of thirty I became a Christian and was immediately asked to read the bible in a church service. I said I didn’t think I could do it, but my new Christian friends said I could, and I would be alright, as they would pray for me. On the day that I read that wonderful passage of Isaiah 53 before the church, and in front of a visiting bishop, everyone said they were all so proud of how well I’d done it.
As my Christian life went on there have been many other occasions to face up to something I feared doing, but with the Lord Jesus helping me I’ve overcome and I’ve even enjoyed the experience. I recently found a new acronym which goes like this: Feeling Afraid I Trust Him. It’s an acronym for the word FAITH.
David wrote Psalm 27, and I call it the ‘overcoming fear’ psalm. He wrote ‘The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident’ (Psalm 27:1-3).
How do we overcome fear? I believe it’s usually by taking hold of our imagination, and using it to imagine good things for the future, not bad. Jesus said each day has its own trouble. So we shouldn’t add tomorrow’s troubles to today’s. The devil likes to get in our imagination and torment us ahead of time.
Did Jesus ever have fear? He was fully human, so I think He must have done. But whenever he felt afraid I believe He would know what to do, and would be able to trust in His Heavenly Father to take care of Him. He often told His disciples not to be afraid.
The emotion of fear is not sinful, but letting it cause us to run away from God’s will is. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus experienced sweat drops of blood because of extreme emotions of fear. He knew He would be tortured and killed. But He chose not to let that stop Him being willing to go through with the suffering ahead of Him. He knew He had to endure the cruel cross so He could redeem us from our sins. He was somehow able to look beyond the unspeakable suffering and think of the joy set before Him - the glorious day of resurrection to come.
David was well aware of the danger threatening his very life as his enemies came after him, but he confidently said ‘I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!’ (Psalm 27:13). Yes his emotions were ones of fear, but he overcame them, by choosing to believe the best possible scenario would happen in the future. Feeling Afraid I Trust Him equals FAITH.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father help me to overcome my feelings in times when I am afraid. Help me to trust You and do Your will with determination and courage. Amen.
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