News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Replacing fear with faith

“Well Bill, we’ll just trust the Lord”

When I was 12 years old, my father, who was a building contractor, fell 20 feet off a scaffold and broke both his legs and one arm. When I, (with my mother and siblings), arrived at the hospital, my first concern was if my dad was going to live.

Once that was assured, my fear turned to how we would survive, as my dad was our only source of income at that time. I said to him, “Dad, what are we going to do now?”

“Well Bill, we’ll just trust the Lord,” was his reply. I’d heard that before from him, but this time I wondered just how that was going to play out. My faith in that statement at the time needed some tangible proof that God would come through. And over the following six months I learned two powerful lessons.

First, I learned that sitting and waiting for something to happen is usually not a wise approach in how we should “trust the Lord.” We need to look for opportunity while we exercise trust. There was opportunity out there and we, as a family, decided to find it. My mother found a job as a bookkeeper, my sister found a job in a local bakery, and I and my little brother got a paper route. Combined, that gave us just enough money to pay the rent.

The second lesson I learned is that when we do our part, God, often through his people, does his part. The bakery allowed my sister to bring home anything left over at the end of the day. Bread, cinnamon rolls, and most anything else sold in a bakery came daily to our house. My father was planning to leave on an elk-hunting trip the day after he fell. Instead, our pastor took my dad’s elk tag, shot an elk and brought us the meat. A lady in our church brought canned vegetables and apples from her garden, and so many people left bags of zucchini and tomatoes on our front porch, I prayed they would stop.

Fear can be a debilitating thing. What we face today, with not only COVID-19 but with financial uncertainty, job layoffs, and not knowing what will happen next in these crazy political times, seems to magnify fear. Some are saying we should buy guns and ammo and stock up on food. Some are prophesying a new civil war or foreign invasion. One of my friends has built an underground bunker. But allowing our lives to be driven by fear rather than faith creates anxiety that affects not only our physical and mental health but stifles our ability to trust God.

It is true that there may be more troubling times ahead, based on what we have already seen. COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon and neither are these other uncertainties. I am not trying to minimize what has happened or might happen. But I learned as a 12-year-old kid that God knew all of this before it ever happened and my father’s simple advice to trust the Lord can help us replace fear with faith.

I should also note that the way God often provides is through us, his people. We had just moved to Colorado a year before my dad’s accident, but God’s people saw our need and became his hands of love and provision to my family. From my perspective, that might be a better approach for us to model in these times, rather than buying guns and ammo and hoarding food (and toilet paper).

The wisest man to live centuries ago wrote in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” The Psalmist said, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” And John of the New Testament followed that up with, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.” And Paul’s young protégé, Timothy, wrote, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” And if you want even more comfort and assurance, go read the words of our Lord Jesus in Matthew chapter six.

I guarantee Jesus’ assuring words will make your day!

These are just a few of the verses that give us a road map in the times we are living. We are not the first generation to face crisis. The age-old choice is ours to choose either fear or faith.

My dad died in his sleep just nine days after his 100th birthday. (Thanks for the example, Dad!) I think I will continue to “just trust the Lord.” How about you?

Bill Carmichael is a former local pastor, veteran book publisher, and bestselling author of many marriage, family, and parenting books including “Habits of a Healthy Home,” and “Desperate for God.”


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