The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines fear as “an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.”

I think we can all agree that the year 2020 has struck at the core of our deepest fears. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have found ourselves gripped with the fear of becoming ill or dying. We feared financial instability, not having enough resources, and being in public places. We even feared running out of toilet paper and frantically ran from store to store to stockpile rolls. Then, we feared being judged for being afraid.

Fear is a powerful ploy that Satan uses to distract us and destroy our lives. His goal is to push us into isolation, to get us to react and respond unreasonably, sometimes with hostility, to circumstances outside our control.

A spirit of fear causes us to focus on our own needs and ignore others. Satan hopes we will look to the world instead of God for temporary solutions to our problems. He tempts us to question whether God loves us and, in our doubt, he hopes we become afraid that God will not provide for us in time.

I was caught in a firm chokehold of fear at the beginning of the pandemic. Even before we were told to socially distance ourselves, I had already begun to slip into isolation. That’s dangerous for someone who has struggled with mental illness and addiction. Before I realized it, I had given the enemy’s fear a foothold in my life, and it was dominating my thoughts.

The abrupt shift from daily routine caught me off guard and shook my sense of security. Suddenly, I had to face the realization that I had allowed the things, circumstances, and people I was so afraid of losing to take God’s place in my life. They had become my source of comfort and security.  They had become my idols.

Through COVID-19, the Lord revealed many idols in my life. God forbids us to put anything before Him—and that includes ministry. I had gotten so busy serving God and attending church that I had completely lost sight of the truth that He was the only reason I had achieved anything worthwhile in my life.

But He is faithful, and He put the right people around me to point me back to His Word as my source of truth.

A friend encouraged me to memorize 2 Timothy 1:7. It says: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV). She told me to say it over and over until it took root in my heart.

Understanding the truth that fear does not come from God helped me find the courage to rise out of my fearful pit of darkness. It reminded me that God is the true source of my peace, joy, comfort, security, protection, and provision.

God is not surprised by our fear. He doesn’t get mad at us when we doubt Him either. He knew fear would be something we would all contend with in this fallen world. That’s why He addresses it throughout His Word. “Fear not” is the most repeated command in the Bible.

In Isaiah 41:13, God promises that we don’t have to be afraid because He will help us. Remembering that verse helps me when I’m tempted to fear,  and it can help you too.

We can confidently claim this promise because God Himself is on our side, fighting our battles. So, fear not!