The Antidote to Fearfulness

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By: Linda Merriott

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

During this pandemic, I have talked to many people who have been full of fear. It reminds me of a time in my life that God used to bring me to a new level of trust. My daughter, Emma, is now 23 years old, but at the age of 12, we went through a rough patch. I adopted her from China, and as a baby, she was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve. 

When Emma was 12 years of age, they discovered she had a congenital narrowing of a short section of the aorta, called a coarctation. It was like a rubber band was around her aorta, and the blood flow to the lower half of her body was less than the flow to the top half. In fact, they could not find a pulse in her femoral arteries. Doctors determined that she would need surgery and a stent placed in her aorta. I found myself full of fear for my daughter, and peace seemed to vanish.  

As I meditated on scripture and attempted to place and leave her in God’s hands, it seemed that peace would come for a short time and then slip away. I found myself dwelling on the fear of losing her or thinking about how being on blood thinners the rest of her life would change how she lived. During that time, I began to ask God how I could trust Him more fully.

I started to read books about trusting God and asking Him to teach me about trust. I finally recognized the truth in Philippians 4:6-7. It seemed so simple when I finally understood – thanksgiving changes everything! In reality, thanksgiving is the antidote to fear. I began to start my prayers with thanksgiving! I thanked God for everything of which I could think. There was so much to be grateful for, and the more gratitude I spoke out, the more I had. As I thanked Him and dwelt on gratefulness, peace overcame fear.

A surprising thing happened after the nurse wheeled Emma into surgery. About an hour into it, the surgeon asked someone to bring me back to the surgical suite. Previously, the doctors told me that once the blood flow gradient reached the point Emma’s had, there was no going back. It always required surgery and a stent. It would not correct itself or change. However, when I got there, they showed me the coarctation on the computer but told me for some reason the numbers had changed, and she no longer needed the stent. They sent her home that day saying, “I don’t know what happened. We have never seen this happen before.” God had shown up in a big way!

Her doctors are still unable to detect a femoral pulse, yet she still does not need a stent. At some point, they tell me that will change. When and if it does, she is in God’s competent hands, and I am thankful. It has been a wonderful lesson for me! Peace comes as we spend time counting our blessings and giving thanks to our amazing God while bringing our requests to Him and leaving them there.

This truth has proved itself over and over in my life. The next time you are fearful, start counting your blessings. Growing in gratitude also expands our ability to trust. Speak out your thankfulness to our heavenly Father, and you will remember His faithfulness and grace. There is no better way to live in peace than to be thankful continually.