“My enemies threw me in to a pit and dropped stones on me. The water flowed above my head, and I cried out, ‘This is the end!’ But I called on your name, Lord, from deep within the well, and you heard me! You listened to my pleading; you heard my weeping! Yes, you came at my despairing cry and told me, ‘Do not fear!’” (Lamentations 3:53-57 NLT)
When things fall apart in your life, you will experience a lot of emotions that can hold you back, such as grief, anger, frustration and regret. But the most damaging emotion of them all is fear.
Fear is the emotion that keeps you stuck in the past. Fear paralyzes you. Fear is the number one problem most people face — fear that they’re not going to make it, fear of the future, or fear of what other people think.
Jeremiah had a lot of reasons to be afraid. His job was to deliver a very unpopular message to his nation. He was so hated that he was tossed into a pit, and then his enemies threw rocks down on top of him. He recorded his cries to God in today’s verse. Jeremiah was afraid, and in his fear he turned to God; he called on God's name.
If you are battling fear in your life today, God says the same thing to you that he said to Jeremiah: “Do not fear!” God is in control and will get you through whatever you’re facing. He will get you out of the pit in his perfect timing. So ask God to relieve your fears.
There are three antidotes to fear:
- Fill your life with the truth. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 KJV). The more you fill your mind with God’s Word, the more it will drive fear from your life.
- Fill your life with love. “Perfect love casts out fear …” (1 John 4:18 NKJV). The more you get to know God, the more you will understand his unconditional love. As you understand his deep love for you, you will see that his perfect love drives away your fear.
- Fill your life with faith. As you begin to trust God and his perfect love for you, you will begin to overcome your fears. Faith is God’s antidote to fear.
If you are afraid that your life has fallen apart and your best days are behind you, you’re wrong. God can always turn things around. He sent his son, Jesus Christ, to “seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10 NIV).
No matter what you’re going through, no matter how bad your circumstances appear, turn from your fear and expect Jesus to restore your life.
Pray this prayer of Jeremiah: “Restore me, O Lord, and bring me back to you again! Give me back the joy I once had!” (Lamentations 5:21 NLT).
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times Best Seller The Purpose Driven Life , as well as The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.