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When You Are Ready to Panic

by Tom Stewart
August 28, 2001

A true humanist leaves God out of the equation. "God is not in all his thoughts" (Psalm 10:4). Humanistic advice for those who are ready to panic (to suddenly become overpowered with terror) is to simply not do it. "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD" (Jeremiah 17:5). On the other hand, infinitely better advice is found in the Scriptures. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee" (Psalm 56:3). You will notice that the Psalmist understands that finite man is easily overpowered with circumstances that are fearful indeed, but the solution for keeping from descent into the Abyss of Panic is to trust God. "I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears" (34:4). Faith in God is the secret to keep you from falling into the Slough of Panic. "And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God" (Mark 11:22). This is simple advice for all those who have already trusted in Jesus to reconcile themselves to God, and it is not overly simplistic. A "faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6) is still the goal of our Christianity.

When we actually fall into panic and entertain it like a guest, then we are sinning against God.
"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). We already know that we should not panic, because God alone is to be feared. "Sanctify the LORD of Hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread" (Isaiah 8:13). We are not to be blamed for the sense of fear and panic that rises up to meet all of humanity; but, with the help of God's grace, we are not to give in to panic. That is what David meant in the 56th Psalm. "2 Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O Thou Most High. 3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. 4 In God I will praise His Word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me" (Psalm 56:2-4). We do not sin against God, when we experience the inevitable, finite, human condition of the Waves of Panic that come crashing upon us. "Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). That is only the temptation to sin. But, sin is the actual volition of choosing not to trust God, in response to the temptation to panic. "Ye have this day rejected your God, Who Himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations" (1Samuel 10:19).

The reason we most often fall into the sin of panic is because we do not understand or forget that God allows us to be accosted by this sense of panic to drive us to Himself.
"28 Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29). It is God's Divine Pattern that we must grow in our understanding of Him, i.e., "grow in grace, and in the Knowledge of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Peter 3:18), and consequently be transformed in the process to be more like the LORD Jesus Christ. "Whereby are given unto us Exceeding Great and Precious Promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (1:4). Humanly speaking, we do not desire to subject ourselves to the pain that the process of sanctification promises; but, we know that our Loving Heavenly Father is more than willing to exercise us by all the wisest means-- including the Scourge of Panic-- to fashion us "to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29). Only as we sympathize with the Father's necessity to use even this sense of panic, to cause us to seek to be sanctified "spirit and soul and body" (1Thessalonians 5:23), do we experience the peaceful calm of His wings. "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His Truth shall be thy Shield and Buckler" (Psalm 91:4).

How Not to Surrender to Panic.

May God grant to us His "way to escape, that [we] may be able to bear" (1Corinthians 10:13) that sense of panic, and "grow thereby" (1Peter 2:2).


Tom Stewart

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