Shh…. I’m right here. It’s okay.
Somehow those words usually make everything better, even when nothing is really better.
Maybe they were spoken by your mom at midnight, maybe by a best friend before a competition, maybe from a brother while hiding from danger, or by a relative while you laid in a hospital bed.
Perhaps childhood taught us best about fear. After night terrors, we want mom or dad there. Looking down the stairs into a spooky basement, we turned to whoever was nearby to say, “will you go with me?” Playing games outside in the dark was totally scary unless you were with a friend.
Fear wants company.
We know we feel better when someone stands by our side when facing any danger—whether imaginary or real. But why? Is it because they’re more powerful than the danger we face? Sometimes, but not often.
Maybe we want someone by our side in danger because we know they are safe. George MacDonald stated this nicely when he said, “Few delights can equal the presence of one we trust utterly.” There is something about trust—maybe love—that puts fear to rest.
When we open the Bible we find that it gives us the very answer to our fears that we have longed for since we were children—I’m right here. God’s most frequent answer to fear in the Bible is “Don’t be afraid, I’m right here.” The Bible usually puts it like this, “Fear not, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10).
This might not seem like the answer you want. We understand that, because perhaps God is one of the very things you fear. It’s going to be of no comfort to you to know that God wants to be with you in your fears, if God is not someone you feel safe with and loved by, if he is not someone you trust.
And that is the secret to sailing through fear—Him. The way to handle every fear in this life is not to never be afraid; it’s not to talk yourself out of it (that did not work with the monsters in the closet, and it often doesn’t work for grown ups either); it’s not to ignore it. It’s to know by faith that God’s Word says “Shh….I’m right here. It’s okay” and it is the truth we need to hear when we are afraid.
But where do we find this in the Bible?
Psalm 34 has to be one of the best places to turn when you are afraid. King David wrote, “he delivers me from all my fears.”
But if you skim the Psalm you won’t find out much about the dangers, you’ll just hear about the One who was right there—the one who answered with his presence (Psalm 34:4), who was there to look to as danger closed in (Psalm 34:5), who heard (Psalm 34:6), who camped out with him (Psalm 34:7), who was a refuge (Psalm 34:8), who kept his eye out for (Psalm 34:15), who stayed close (Psalm 34:18), who protected (Psalm 34:20), and who ultimately rescued (Psalm 34:22).
Do you know God like this? Do you want to know God like this? You might be fascinated by the fact that in verse 9 of Psalm 34, the exhortation the psalmist gives us is, “Fear the Lord, you holy people…”
This is the great mystery we must come to understand: fear will lose its power in our lives when we know we are safe with the One most worthy of our fear.
It is through what God accomplished through his Son Jesus through his death and resurrection that we are able, as sinners, to approach a holy God without fear.
“Fear not, for I am with you.” The power of those words, I’m right here, really depend on who it is right there with you. Fear will lose its grip the more we delight in the presence of the God who we can trust fully.
But what if….?! And the Bible has an answer for that too, if we are willing to accept its first answer.
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:37-39 NIV).
If we have found safety in God through Jesus, then his hand will always be there to hold. Nothing can separate us from him, so no matter what frightens us, that voice will never be silenced—not even by death.