When I was a little girl I was terrified of the dark and of large animals. It was debilitating. So much so, that my parents began teaching me to quote several scripture verses on fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
I John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
Psalm 56:3 “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”
My parents had me quoting these verses and many others as my four year old fears plagued me night after night or whenever I was around an animal bigger than a cat. For months we would quote these verses as they penetrated my soul. And a strange thing happened...I began to believe them! And then I began to practice them!
There are two stories my father likes to tell. In one, a family friend was babysitting me and I wanted a certain toy. She told me that the toy was in a room in which the light was off. She says that I walked over to the room, stood in the dark doorway and said, “There is no fear in me,” and promptly walked into the room to retrieve the toy.
A short time later, another friend was babysitting me who had a horse farm. To her surprise, I asked if we could go up to the horse corral. Once there, I asked if I could get on the horse. Then to her shock, as I was on the horse I asked her to back away from me, leaving me alone to conquer my fears. But I wasn’t alone - the Lord was with me. I knew that because I had spent weeks reminding myself every time I was afraid that the Lord of perfect love casts out my fear, replaces that fear with power and a sound mind, and proves that I can trust Him.
Now to be perfectly honest with you, I remember very little about these incidents. But when my own son was struggling with paralyzing fear at 3 years old, I did for him what had been done for me. We quoted scripture to battle the fear. Every night. Every day. And then, it was gone. His torment left just as quickly as it had come.
Fast forward a few years, and my adult self was faced with very real terrors. When you are told that you have an illness that might kill you, the fears are no longer imagined and much more terrifying. I praise God for the lesson I learned as a child! At night in bed when the fear was palpable, I rejected the terror and claimed the power, love and sound mind that the Lord promised me. The morning I went into the first major surgery of my life, I realized that His perfect love was casting out all the fear. Those moments during chemotherapy when I felt terribly afraid, I declared my trust in my Healer!
I am grateful that my parents had me memorize these verses as a child so that as an adult the Lord could recall them to my mind when I needed them most. If you are struggling with fear, consider making note cards, meditating on verses, quoting them against the anxiety, and confessing them as truth!