I’d like to ask you something important today: What are you most afraid of?
Now ask yourself honestly: How likely are those fears to come true?
Mark Twain is said to have quipped, “I have known a great many troubles in my life, most of which never happened.”
So how do you conquer that fear? Look with me at Psalm 23:4.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me….”
We see here that the path you take in life will eventually cross through the valley of the shadow of death. That represents a place where you have opportunity to be afraid—a place where death in some form is close enough to cast its shadow over some area of your life. It represents a place of testing and trial.
But you know what? The valley of the shadow of death is not the valley of death. A shadow has no real substance. Have you ever been bitten by the shadow of a dog or cut by the shadow of a knife?
Ninety percent of the things we fear are really only shadows. Many of our anxieties spring from inaccurate thoughts that have built a stronghold in our minds.
Even though our thoughts may be irrational, they can still seem so real. I’ve certainly experienced that in my own life. Soon after Cottonwood Church began, I was overwhelmed by thoughts that my preaching wasn’t having any impact. It plagued my mind and became a real problem for me.
Then one night, I had a nightmarish dream that I was in a dark desert. Wind-whipped sand was hitting me. Then something else hit my skin and I recoiled. I looked down and saw that the wind was blowing rattlesnake skins at me.
I woke up in a cold sweat and began to pray. Then a question came to my anxious heart—and I’m sure it was God asking me: “Have you ever been bitten by a snakeskin?”
I suddenly realized all of those thoughts I was grappling with were just shadows blown out of proportion in my mind. I had no reason to believe them any longer.
What’s tempting you to worry? Could it have sprung from a “snakeskin” incident or a thought that simply got blown way out of proportion?
Remember Psalm 23. The Lord, your Good Shepherd, cares deeply for you and wants to set you free from fear. Even in your darkest valley, you can say, “I will fear no evil,” because He is with you.
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