The first started with me asking a Sunday School class of first graders, “What would you say if someone wanted you to pray for them?”
A visitor to the class, a young girl, spoke up and confidently said, “I would tell them that they were safe in God’s pocket.”
A few hours later, my phone rang. A man, suffering with a physical problem, asked me to pray for him. Because the girl’s simple but confident response had so impressed me, and since I understand the cause of most problems to be fear, I was led to say, “You are safe in God’s pocket.”
He began to cry and hung up, without giving his name.
A week later, he called back to report he’d been healed of the physical problem the instant he hung up the phone. He also stated that for the next few days, every time he tried to smoke cigarettes, they tasted terrible. Not only had he been healed of the physical trouble, he’d stopped a long time habit of smoking, as well.
Yes, the girl’s pure trust in God’s constant care inspired a prayer that erased the man’s fear.
The second experience, I was reminded of, took place when I stepped out of a dressing room and into a packed church auditorium. I was suddenly nervous. Anxiously, I stepped over to a chair, sat, and waited for the prelude music to finish.
My fear was puzzling. I had freely performed in a rock band in front of small and large audiences for many years. And although I was about to conduct my first church service of a three-year term, I was prepared. Everything I needed to conduct the service was in place on the podium. There was nothing to worry about.
Then, while the music continued, I recognized that the fear wasn’t mine, but rather waves of sympathy from the audience. Many people have a fear of public speaking and I was mentally sensing this fear.
I affirmed to myself that the fear wasn’t mine, and that I didn’t have to suffer from the thoughts of others.
When the music stopped, I stepped up and began the service. Immediately, the fear vanished. I found that I had the ability to stop being afraid. I could stop being a victim of fear.
What can fear do to you? It seems a lot. Anxiety, fear, and worry are reported to be mentally and physically harmful. Jere Daniel in a Psychology Today column,Learning to Love Growing Old, wrote, “Fear of aging speeds the very decline we dread most. And it ultimately robs our life of any meaning.”
I’m discovering that we experience what we think and that fear seems to be able to negatively touch every part of the body, if we allow it. Because of this, I’ve found it effective to filter my thoughts through spiritual reasoning. Many call this prayer.
As I was listening to the prelude music in the church auditorium, I realized that fear was not a power to be battled with and defeated. The thought, "I am afraid,” was not mine. Not only did I affirm mentally that the fear wasn’t mine, I also knew that no power apart from God could govern my being.
If one glances through the King James Version of the Bible, it is hard not to spot one of the seventy times “Fear not” appears. The second book of Timothy has helped me when I’ve been afraid. It states in part, “God has not given us a spirit of fear. But he has given us a spirit of power and love and self-control.” Is it any wonder that spirituality has been linked to longer life and better health?
Jeff Levin, in his book, God, Faith, and Health: Exploring the Spirituality Healing Connection, writes, “The best study conducted to date on the topic of religious attendance and health found the most amazing results. It showed that the protective effects of frequent participation in church can last a lifetime. … Published in the American Journal of Public Health, [one] study found that frequent religious attenders had greater survival rates — that is, lower mortality — that extendedover a twenty-eight-year period. Frequent religious attendance in 1965 was still reducing the risk of dying in 1994.”
If we are children of God, a fearing soul is not who we really are. Fear keeps us from living freely as spiritual beings. However, fear disappears when we glimpse our identity as the image of the divine.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He is a legislative liaison for spiritual healing & Christian Science in Texas. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s syndicated columns originate at: http://texashealthblog.com/