Shaking Like a Leaf.
It is a phrase I’ve heard many times before.
Overhearing someone talking and using the phrase “shaking like a leaf” isn’t something that ordinarily would cause a light-bulb moment for me. It is a phrase I’ve heard quite often in my life. The phrase generally is referred to when someone is scared, anxious, cold, or excited. But the point of this article is to talk about the first word I listed: “scared”.
Sometimes God will inspire me with a word, a scene going on outside, a conversation I hear, or simply something I’ve been reading. No matter the situation, these little inspirations are “ah-ha” moments and cause me to reflect and ponder the scriptures.
Like anyone else, fear is something that plagues us all. Fear is something that often motivates us, sometimes resulting in good results and sometimes bad. For many of us, the unknown is our greatest fear. Not knowing if we will keep a job, if a sick loved one will recover, if we can keep paying the bills . . . can throw us into constant fear.
The truth is that fear is a detriment to us. It stymies us, distracts us, and puts life on Pause. Fear literally causes us to become physically ill. The amygdala is located in the temporal nodes of the brain, and the job of the amygdala is to send impulses to the hypothalamus to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. The hypothalamus is the portion of the brain that tells us to fight or flee. It’s a great thing if you’re being chased by a lion, or in this modern day a dog with rabies, but the fact is that we humans are quite frequently in a constant state of fight or flight. When the brain fires off the messages of fear, the heart rate and blood pressure increase, you might have frequent digestive issues, insomnia, adrenal fatigue, the list goes on.
But what does God’s Word say about fear?
Quite a lot.
2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. Fear is not of God. Isaiah 41:10 is one of my favorites, especially if you know the story behind it. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” This specific chapter was written around the time that Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians. You can imagine how the Israelis must have felt at that time, being in captivity. They’d had some horrible kings who refused to honor God, they were defeated by the Babylonians, and taken captive. That would strike fear in anyone.
Even though they had turned from God, He did not forget them. He was there to remind them that even though they messed up (because He gives us all a free will to make our choices, good or bad), He was still there to help them when they reached out.
It’s easy for us to forget that God is there to listen to us when we are fearful. Sure, we don’t literally hear Him speak anymore, but He gave us the Word, and He will speak through His Word. I don’t know how many times I have had a burden and a verse of Scripture popped into my head like a whisper. He uses His Word, but we have to read it so that He can reach us.
Matthew 10:31 tells us not to fear because He values us more than many sparrows.
And according to Matthew 10:29-31, He must care a good deal about sparrows. If He pays attention when a sparrow dies, how much more He cares about us! And to go on, He also made us more precious than fine gold (Isaiah 13:12)! Don’t forget about taking your fears to the Father. He wants to know your fears, and He wants to calm them.
Trust is something not easily cultivated, but God wants us to trust Him to turn our fears into joy. Psalm 5:11 says, “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”
He doesn’t want us to be shaking like a leaf. He wants us to have peace and joy. And when the mountains get hard to climb, we can rely on His Word to encourage us through the trials. There will always be tears, heartache, and grief during our lives, but we can turn our fears over to Him every day. Let Jesus be your Prince of Peace.