The following is part of our 25th anniversary “Meridian Classics” series and was originally published on February 9, 2001.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.-Paul to Timothy (II Tim. 1:7)
Act and You Will Be Unafraid
One theory of emotion states that “you are afraid because you run,” (Not that you run because you are afraid.) The fact is that when you take the part of courage, courage flows in to you.
It is Satan who “seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself (2 Nephi 2:27), and you may see how actively he is about that in your daily labors. You are undoubtedly aware of the facets of your makeup where opposition and your own inner temptations can leave you trembling.
To quake in fear is not of God. Doubt and fear can be absolutely purged. Here are two counsels on becoming rid of fear.
Think through your Fears
Our usual pattern is to think to our fears. We let them stir around like uninvited gremlins and never really look them in the eye. Stare them down!
To illustrate, here is a page from my own missionary days on Prince Edward Island when we were working without purse or scrip. I remember vividly the absolute ache that came every morning when we awoke to a day that was another suspenseful unknown. (Most fear grows out of suspense in the presence of imagined ills). We had a crude map and a suitcase. Three questions always weighed us down: What if we fail to eat? What if we cannot find a place to sleep? What if no one will let us teach them? These anxieties compounded with the clock. Every day it seemed we were walking slowly toward our doom. I cannot describe the oppression and depression of the experience.
Many weeks passed before I began to see through all this. We sat down and talked it over. What could really happen? Suppose we didn’t eat for five days. We could live. Suppose we didn’t have a bed for the whole summer. We could live. Suppose we were mobbed (we later were). So what? Something to write home about. Suppose we found no one to teach. We were going to keep searching anyway.
Then we prayed. Then we stood up and faced a new world.
I was never troubled again. And the Lord’s “Take no thought what ye shall eat…” became a matter of personal testimony. And He blessed us. We did not have all we wanted. But we had all we needed.
Pray for the Protective Armor
I defy you to be full of fear when you are full of the Spirit. “Without me ye can do nothing,” (John 15:5), the Lord told his apostles in Jerusalem. “Take no thought,” (Matt. 6:31) he said to them. The Lord’s surrounding power is all that is needed to make you effective, here and now.
The “armor” does not tell you that every story will have a happy ending. It does not promise you perfection, expansive success without opposition, freedom from ills and stress and sweat. But I testify with all my soul that it does literally insulate you from all disquieting bugaboos. It gives you such reassurance that you take each day as it comes. It brings inspired concentration. You know that all that really matters is perfectly administered in His hands. You do not fear “the fiery darts of the wicked” (D&C 27:17), and while the Spirit is upon you, you hardly feel them. You are among the heirs of this promise.
Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me…
And inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you. Wherefore, I am in your midst and I am the good shepherd and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall (And, I add never fear.) -D&C 50:41,43,44