Be Strong and Courageous: How to Rest in God When Fear Overwhelms You

Updated Jun 15, 2022
Be Strong and Courageous: How to Rest in God When Fear Overwhelms You

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

If there are two things that I am well acquainted with, it's weakness and fear. I know what it's like to feel weak. And I also know what it's like to look fear in the eyes, and with everything in me, want to run in the opposite direction.

But glory to God, fear and weakness aren’t our inheritance. We read over and over again in the Bible that when it comes to fear, there shouldn't be anything that we fear more than God. And this fear isn’t a dreadful anxiousness. It’s a reverent, awe-like fear that is motivated from wanting to please him. Because we know He is our strong tower. He is our protection. He fights for us. He created all things, so having him on our side is a sure win in every situation we face.

God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous in the face of an enemy that would have made Joshua tremble with weakness and fear if it had not been for God’s powerful reminder of His presence and power. Let’s read on to see how God meets our weakness and fear with His strength and might.

Stressed woman at work, be strong and courageous

Be Strong: God’s Reminder to Us When Our Circumstances Overwhelm Us

In Joshua 1, before the Israelites cross over the river Jordan into the Promised Land, the Lord tells Joshua to be strong. Actually, God tells him to be strong a number of times in the first chapter alone.

There was a period of my life where the Lord had me meditating on this section of Scripture and he wouldn't let me move past it. No matter how many times I tried to move on to chapter 2, I kept being pulled back to read and re-read Joshua chapter 1. This was during a time where I felt weak. I felt like I had no control over the things that were happening in my life. I felt like a victim to my circumstances.

My husband, Christopher, and I had decided that I would be a stay-at-home mom after the birth of our first daughter. We chose that route after feeling led by the Lord. Christopher was the sole provider and times were hard for us. As it looked like our material and financial lives were crumbling apart, God told me to be strong. “But, I feel weak, Lord,” was my response. “Be strong” was His response back. And I didn't understand why He was telling me to be something that I didn't believe I was capable of being.

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God Calls Us to Live in His Strength, Not Ours

I've come to learn that God is always calling us to do things we don't believe we can accomplish. That’s because without Him, we can’t. He calls us to do things like have impossible strength and courage because, at the end of the day, we have to realize that those were never things we were going to be able to accomplish on our own. He calls us to step out into faith obediently, and trust that He is going to be there to put a firm path under our feet. We start, but He is the one who accomplishes the mighty, powerful work in our life.

"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." (Psalm 40:2)

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God Makes a Way through What Seems Impossible at First

I thought my world was falling apart back when I was a new stay-at-home mom. Actually, though, my life was coming together. God was giving me wisdom, experience, and the opportunity to keep moving forward in my life through faith, even though I didn't understand how I was going to overcome. Well, I'm here and alive to tell you that God was right! During that season, he impressed on my heart that even though I felt weak, I was not. I had him on my side and my weakness only served to display his strength.

Since we are human, we all have areas where we are weak and where we are strong. In the areas where we are strong, we are because He is. And, in the ways that we are weak, God’s “power is made perfect.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

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What Areas of Your Life Do You Need to Rely on God’s Strength?

What Areas of Your Life Do You Need to Rely on God’s Strength?

If you can recall in the book of Numbers, Joshua and Caleb saw who lived in the land that the Lord wanted to give the Israelites, and although the people there were bigger and stronger, Joshua and Caleb knew that they could take the land because God was with them (Numbers 13:30). Maybe you need to be reminded that your strength lies in God, not in yourself. Perhaps, you are looking at your situation through your perspective. God wants you to come up higher to where he is, so that you can view the things that make you feel small and weak the way he does. Be strong.

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Facing Your Deepest Fears

Facing Your Deepest Fears

Fear and I have definitely gone round for round over the last two years of my life. I can say that I am a victor over fear, but it took me being afraid and having to be placed in situations to face and reject it.

I met fear the day my daughter was born. We had to have an emergency c-section, which was never part of the plan for me and Christopher. We had planned for a natural birth at a birth center, not a surgical one in a hospital. I hated hospitals because it reminded me of sickness and death. Even though I intellectually knew that people get healed and live there, the reputation hospitals had in my mind wasn't a good one.

I will say that I wasn't ready to die on that operating table. But I felt like it. I mean, to be honest, up until that point, my pregnancy was healthy and extremely low-risk. I didn't even understand how we got there. So, if being in the hospital could happen to someone like me, surely death could happen too, right? And it wasn’t just my life that I feared for. It was my daughter’s life, too. Her heart rate dropped with every contraction I had. The contractions that were supposed to bring her alive into the world were instead hurting her. I was afraid.

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Finding God’s Strength in Your Weakest Moments

Finding God’s Strength in Your Weakest Moments

In that operating room, I trembled with fear. I smelt it in the air. It was overwhelming. But in my heart, I knew that Jesus was my savior for a reason. He had defeated and conquered fear. So, I thought on his name. Almost instantly, the fear in that room melted away.

Jesus gained the victory over fear and death. He gave fear and death black eyes and knocked them out for good. I had Jesus. I still do. I love the scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7 that says this, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Fear is a spirit, but one that God has not given us. Therefore, we can be courageous and live above fear. This doesn't mean that we won't ever feel afraid. We will. This means that when we start to feel fear rise up, we can combat it with the truth of what God has given us. Courage.

Maybe the source of your weakness and fear isn't the same as mine. That's okay, it doesn't make your weakness and fear any less valid to God. God’s Word is the same for my situation, as it is for yours, as it is for the next person. It is real and active and alive. Decide not to live in a place of weakness and fear. Take captive of the victim mentality and choose to know yourself as God knows you. Strong and courageous!

Britnee is a free-spirited, Old Navy-wearin', coffee-shop lovin', wife and momma. She serves in the worship ministry with her husband at their home church in Glendale, AZ and writes with the sole purpose of pointing others to Christ. You can catch up with her on her blog or via social media @b_brdshw!

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This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin and history of specific verses within Scripture context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.

"Pray Without Ceasing"
"Feafully and Wonderfully Made"
"Faith Without Works is Dead"
"Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart"
"All Things Work Together for Good"
"Be Strong and Courageous"
"Train Up a Child in the Way He Should Go"
"Love Your Neighbor as Yourself"
"Tke Every Thought Captive"
"Do Not Fear"
"God is Love"
"Eye for an Eye"
"Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"
"I Can Do All Things Through Christ"
"The Lord is my Shepherd"
"Be Still and Know that I Am God"

Originally published Wednesday, 04 March 2020.