Shortly after Hubs and I married, he attended a three-month school on the other side of the country. Night after night, fear washed over me as I worried about something happening to him. When my lights went out before bed, fears lit up my mind. Now that I finally had a husband, the fear of loss was powerful.
We’ve all grappled with fear. In Genesis 43, a few different “faces” of this foe reveal themselves in Jacob and his sons.
Today, let’s focus on one aspect of fear. Next week, we’ll look at a couple of others. Joseph, Jacob’s favored son, had lived in captivity in Egypt for many years. The known world was in the middle of a drought. Jacob’s family needed food, so he sent his ten oldest sons to Egypt to buy some.
While there, the men met an unyielding Egyptian official. He questioned them and learned they had a younger brother. He insisted one brother stay behind until the other men returned with their youngest brother.
The official gave them grain, and he secretly restored their money into their grain sacks.
When the men discovered their money, they feared the official would think they’d cheated him.
The brothers conveyed to Jacob all that happened, and when they told him they must bring Benjamin with them if they wanted to purchase more food—Jacob freaked out.
When Fear Comes Knocking
Jacob was scared of losing his youngest son, just as he lost Joseph, Benjamin’s older biological brother. He avoided this decision for what seemed like weeks. Two of the older brothers made vows to Jacob to ease his mind. But Jacob wouldn’t be comforted about the possibility of losing Benjamin. He couldn’t let go of his youngest son, because what if . . .
Now there’s a question with the power to halt us. What if the worst happens or things don’t go the way we anticipate? If we lose our dignity, our respect, our finances, our reputation, our ______, what then?Now there’s a question with the power to halt us. What If . . . ? #tellhisstory #fearofloss Click To Tweet
What if . . . ?
Jacob faced a crisis of faith.
In time, Jacob chose to trust God and his older sons to protect Benjamin for the journey to Egypt.
Sometimes, we want reassurance before we step into a vast unknown. And though we receive that reassurance, we still must make a choice.Sometimes, we want reassurance before we step into a vast unknown. And though we receive that reassurance, we still must make a choice. #tellhisstory #fearofloss Click To Tweet
And Jacob did. He said, “If I am bereaved, I am bereaved!” (Genesis 43:14)
Jacob faced a fear of loss.
What about us?
Fear plays tricks in our thoughts. It speaks in our voice, and its lies sound persuasive.
Five Thoughts for Dealing With a Fear of Loss
- We must learn to discern the difference between the voices of truth and fear. When we allow the “What if” question to play out in our minds, we’re opening the door to fear.
- Our Father is a God of truth. To combat fear, we must get to know the character of our Father. Does He sometimes allow the worst-case scenario to become a reality? Yes. Is He capricious? No. Our Father is good, even when He defines “good” differently than we do. God loves us, even when He allows difficult circumstances in our lives.
- When fear feels real, we must bring it before the Lord. We need to see how those fears line up with God’s word. When they don’t line up, we must recognize the lies for what they are. If they could align with His word, we ask God to reveal Himself, and we choose to dwell on what we know about God.
- When we’re afraid of losing something or someone, we must hold them with an open hand before our Father. Though there are occasions when we may lose that thing we value, often the fear ends up being nothing.
- We must evaluate whether we love that thing more than we love God. If the answer is yes, we must ask the Lord to realign our priorities and, again, hold that person or thing up to Him with an open hand.
Is this scary? YES.
But, when we trust the Lord with what we value, fear loses its grip on our hearts and minds.
Choosing to Trust
As for my fear of losing my husband, God gave me a choice: live sleep-deprived for the next three months or trust Him. I decided trust was the better option. Each night, I had to retrain my thoughts to focus on what was true.
When the fear of loss began pinging in my thoughts, I recited verses that reminded me of God’s character and the truths that He loved me and was watching over both Hubs and me. Eventually, I began sleeping better. And when Hubs came home, I felt almost as if God shone an indulgent smile on me.
What about you? What helps you not to be controlled by fear? Which Bible verse speaks most to you about fear?
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“…Is He capricious? No. Our Father is good, even when He defines “good” differently than we do. God loves us, even when He allows difficult circumstances in our lives”. Love this. Remembering this keeps me going in difficult times.
Remembering that God loves us always is something that keeps me going too. I so appreciate your visit!
Hi, Jeanne. Fear of loss of loved ones or other important parts of our life is so powerful and hard to combat. But you have given some more powerful ways to deal with that fear–ones that keep us coming back to the Lord for help. Thank you!
Kathy, we all face fear, off and on throughout our lives, don’t we? I’m thankful the Lord is with us through each and every one of them.
Oh Jeanne … fear of loss is such a big deal. I spent years fearing, dreading and worrying about “what if my parents died.” It’s ironic and maybe a bit strange to think, but losing them both so quickly in 2019 has actually helped me overcome my fear of loss just a bit. Not that I am completely unafraid of any kind of loss, of course, but “surviving” losing them has shown me that I can make it through other losses too. Does that make any sense at all? Your five points are wise, and this is so powerful: “Our Father is good, even when He defines “good” differently than we do.” Yes and amen!
Lois, I think you and I may be cut from the same cloth. And it is kind of amazing how God knows just how to show up in the ways we need when those losses do come in our lives. He is faithful to help us with every loss we encounter, isn’t He? Thank you for sharing your experience here.
Jeanne, I love the wise words you shared in your post. Loss is inevitable as we go through life–loss of loved ones, loss of a job, loss of a dream. How we handle it will empower us to grow deeper in our faith. Thank you for the beautiful reminder!
Lisa, you’re right. Loss is inevitable as we walk through this life. And amen to the truth that how we handle it has the capacity to deepen our faith! Thanks for your visit!
Fear is crippling. Ask me how I know! xo
So true, Sue! I imagine you have a story or two to share lessons you’ve learned about this reality! 🙂
Fear is exactly what I needed to hear about today as I learn to trust God more this year.
Lauren, I love how God know what and when we need to hear something. Thanks for the encouragement. And I’m with you on the journey to learning to trust God more this year.
Such a great post and beautiful photos. “Be still and know that I am God” speaks peace to me and helps me live by faith over fear. Thanks for sharing this Jeanne.
Marielle, I pray that verse every. single. night. to help my mind calm down from the day and to focus on the Lord. I love that you added it to the collection here in the comments. And yes, to living by faith over fear. I appreciate you stopping by!
Wow! Powerful thoughts on fear. I must admit, I sometimes find fear’s voice persuasive. Like Jacob, I hesitate, afraid of loss. Leaning to discern the difference between truth and fear has been a lifelong effort for me. I have always prayed this verse from 2 Timothy when fear threatens to overwhelm: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. “
Laurie, I have heard fear’s voice disguised as my own far too many times. I’ve had to bring it all before the Lord. And I think some of my biggest struggles with fear revolved around the possibility of losing something/someone. 2 Tim 1:7 is such a great verse to meditate on when fear’s voice is speaking.
I loved reading your thoughts here, Jeanne! Fear has been a struggle for me all my life and I’ve had to accept that the feelings of fear are probably never going to go away – I just have to learn when to push through them. I love Isaiah 41:10 which has already been mentioned and also Psalm 91.
Lesley, You sum up what, I suspect, many of us feel. Feelings of fear will never completely disappear. But, I like your solution…to push through them and rely on God’s word for the strength to do so. the Bible passages you shared are so good!
Fear of the “what if’s?” can take control at any time. I am thankful we can go to God with our worries and find comfort with Him.
Melissa, yes! There is comfort and confidence in knowing we can go to God with our worries and find comfort in Him.
Remembering that God knows the big picture helps me in times of fear. Jacob was fearful to let go of Benjamin, but, as we know from the full story, He had it all under control! We don’t have access to our full story–just faithfulness and trusting in His promises. Lovely post!
Lynn, I agree. When I don’t know what’s coming next, I find comfort knowing that God does know. Jacob didn’t know the end of the story while he was living it. But, we know God had beauty in redeemed relationships written into a future chapter. I guess that’s a good reminder for us too. We can look to our Father who knows the full story and rest in the truth that He’s got us. When we do that, fear loses its grip.
Jeanne, such a beautiful post! Loss is so very hard to navigate. In fact I am reflecting on the loss of my granddaughter 5 years ago. Fear of experiencing that pain again can paralyze me. But lingering on who God is, His character, and the truth of His love for me and Indigo slays the fear I feel. Thank you for the wise and comforting words of this post!
Donna, loss is hard to navigate. I’m sorry you lost your granddaughter. When we have lost, we want to avoid the possibility of experiencing that kind of pain again. I like how you put it, about lingering on who God is, remembering His character and the truth of His love for us and how this enables us to walk beyond fear. Thank you for your transparency today, friend.
That which I have greatly feared
has surely come upon me now;
by a demon’s hands is steered
the cutting edge of cancer’s plow
which cleaves my body, back to breast,
and cuts soul to its very heart;
if I need ‘brave’ to pass this test
I’ve no idea where to start,
but there is one thing to do
that I can, with luck, achieve,
and that is just to see it through
and in that, try to believe
that there’s meaning in the pain,
and something good might yet remain.
Andrew, I was just praying for you about the pain and how God is using you in the midst of it. Sometimes, I think we don’t get to see the good He is doing through our hard seasons. But trust me, friend. He reveals Himself to you, and then uses you to encourage an speak truth to those who read your words. Praying for you today.
So very true! It’s scary thinking there’s no net beneath you, imagining all the what-ifs, etc. We want to protect ourselves from being hurt again. But we are called to have faith. FAITH OVER FEAR!
Yes, Jessica, I like your word picture. Fear makes us think there’s no net beneath us. You’re right . . . we are called to have faith. This is the only way to combat fear.
Fear of loss has always been an underlying fear in my life. I know it intensified for me as I felt the bottom drop out from underneath me this past year. God is my stronghold and protector. It is in Him that I find my source of well-being that combats fear.
Mary, like you, to varying degrees, I’ve struggled with a fear of loss for my entire life too. I’m with you…so thankful that God is our source of wellbeing and the One who combats fear. I’m sending you a hug, friend.
Jeanne, this really spoke to me: “When we’re afraid of losing something or someone, we must hold them with an open hand before our Father.” Fear of the unknown usually comes knocking because I’m not in control. And truth is, I never am or was in control. That’s where trust comes in.
I try to remind myself that the enemy makes us fearful in the what-ifs or the unknown. But Christ makes us fearless when our faith and hope rest in Him.
Karen, it’s when I grip tightly those things that I hold most dear that fear has a heyday with me. Trusting them to the Lord is the best way to mitigate the fear. And yes, I’ve mistakenly thought I was in control before too. Truth is exactly as you said: we never have been or will be in control. Thank goodness we know the One who is! I love the truth you remind yourself. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
Jeanne, the verse I learned many years ago to fight back fear was 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” It still is my go to verse. Then I remind myself: “For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV) Beautiful post in word and photos!
Joanne, 2 Timothy 1:7 is a verse I have turned to many times over the years. We need those reminders that a spirit of fear is NOT from our Father. And the truth that He gives us power, love, and a sound mind helps prepare me (us) to deal with the circumstances causing the fear. And oh, Her 13:5 is one I’ve turned to many times as well. Thank you for sharing these, Joanne!
Fear is something I have wrestled with all my life. I wish we could have a sit-down talk with ourselves, wrestle it all out, and give it all to the Lord and be done with it. But, as you said, we have to daily remind ourselves of the truths in God’s Word. If He allows the worst to happen, whatever the worst is to us in the moment, He’ll be with us and give us grace. The couple of verses that often come to mind are Psalm 56:3: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee,” and Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Barbara, wouldn’t it be nice if we could just give ourselves one good talking to, hand it all over to the Lord, and be beyond the grip of fear?? 🙂 Since this isn’t reality for most of us, like you, I’m grateful God always walks with us. And if/when the worst happens, we can walk (or sometimes crawl) forward knowing we are not alone. I love those verses, especially Isaiah 41:10. Thank you for sharing it!
Jeanne, hi! You have so much beauty and wisdom packed into this piece today. This is a tender subject for many of us. That the Lord hasn’t changed one single bit, that He is faithful and present right in the midst of the scariest or most difficult seasons has become a huge hope and solace to me.
Thank you, friend. I’ll be meditating over the truths you’ve shared.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’
This is a fabulous verse! Thanks for sharing, Linda!
The longer we live, the more we realize that loss is coming , and no one escapes. I am grateful that God promises to travel with is in every season!
You’re right, Michele. Loss does come to each of us. It looks different depending on the person, but we will all face it. I’m with you, so grateful God travels with us through every season.
Awww, Linda, thanks for your kind words. I know you’ve walked through some hard, scary times recently. I’m with you . . . the reassurance that God is faithful and He is present in the middle of the scary, difficult seasons gives us hope. Sending you a virtual hug!
After I lost my daughter & then my son twelve months later, I fell pregnant with my fifth child, anxiety & fear gripped my soul. And was at an all time high as I was in grief for the loss of my two children, pregnant & raising my two older daughters who were also grieving their brother & sister.
I had to come to a point of daily giving my fear & anxiety to my heavenly Father to be able to just function as a wife & Mama. As having lost two children a hyper vigilant behavior can set in. God’s love & peace flooded my soul but it was a daily handing over & at times a moment by moment.
The same happened when my late husband was diagnosed with brain cancer & during his marathon battle against it, which he lost, God’s peace flooded my soul during, after & as a widow.
I agree Jeanne it’s about choosing to hand our fears over & yes sometimes that can be a moment by moment handing over!
This week I’m sharing ‘Who has the Power?’ https://teawithjennifer.blog/2021/01/08/power/
Jennifer, thank you for sharing pieces of your story here. It sounds like you’ve definitely had to learn how to hand over to our Father that fear of losing something precious. Thank you for sharing how you handled that fear: by daily giving over the anxiety and fear to the Lord. He’s the best One to hold them. You inspire me, Jennifer. Sending you a virtual hug and prayers today.
Thank you Jeanne! 😀