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  • Writer's pictureCassandra DeLeon

Fear Not

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

“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.” (Isaiah 41:10).


It was a beautiful fall day on October 10, 2008. I didn’t know when we left the house at 3:00PM that afternoon that in a matter of minutes our lives would be radically changed. I was driving our eight children—13 months to 13 years old—in our 15 passenger van. We were on a winding country road that I had driven hundreds of times. As we were rounding a curve, I turned my head to look at the driver-side mirror. In that split second, we were off the road. The embankment was steep. I slammed on my brakes, but due to the grass, it did not feel like we were even slowing down. We were racing straight into a section of woods that I knew would kill us all. As the children were screaming, my mind began racing and genuine terror and fear gripped my heart.


These last several years I have entered a new season of my life. It's that time of life as we women age that our physical bodies can really affect how we feel: our energy level, our emotions, and yes, even our thinking. Actually, it can happen in any season of life. You might be in the teen years, or those those early single college years, the pregnancy years, the peri-menopause years, or even full blown menopause. There have been times that fear has taken over faith, and if I am not careful, it even pervades my thinking.


How do we not fear? How do we navigate those times of true, honest-to-goodness fear? How do we think correctly? When bad news or emotions take over, how do we navigate the next steps?


But what if the trials just continue to pile up, one after the other? What if it feels as if the trials never seem to stop and life will never go back to “normal" again? What if your daughter has severe pain her entire childhood and ends up having her colon removed when she is 9. What if your family is in a car accident? What if your daughter loses part of her hand when it is crushed? What if you watch your baby’s last breath, and he dies in your hands just short of 5 months gestation? What if your husband is chronically ill? What if you go into severe postpartum depression—and you are the wife of the Pastor? What if you become desperately ill, and the chronic pain never seems to have an ending?


When the Bible says, “Do not fear,” God is not telling me to just stop fearing. I can try really hard to not fear. However, it is not as if I can just put my mind to it, and all my fears will mysteriously disappear. God’s Word is also not telling me try to work harder at not fearing. The Bible is moving me to something more powerful, something greater.


Someone greater.


Jesus.


Let’s go back to that moment in October. What I did not see, until the very last second, was a large utility pole. In that split second, I knew we were going to hit it. Pumping my brakes, I jerked the steering wheel as hard I could to the left, desperately trying to avoid the pole. It was such a sharp turn that the van careened on two wheels. As the van lifted, instead of the pole going right though the middle of the van, it hit the passenger side. It crunched and screeched loudly as it scraped the entire length of the van.

The van continued to move forward until we hit a culvert head-on. The impact catapulted the van end over end, back up onto the middle of the road, spinning the van around, and flinging the passenger door open. As the van turned upside down, my 12-year old daughter, Autumn, who was in the passenger seat, grabbed the top of the door frame to steady herself. The entire weight of the van landed upside down onto her hand, crushing it, and trapping her in a fetal position.


When we stopped moving, the screams of my eight children began ringing in my ears as they hung upside down from their seatbelts, booster seats, and car seats. It was in those terrifying moments that fear grabbed my heart.


I can vividly recall all the many thoughts swirling in my mind as the van hit that pole, smashed into the culvert, and literally flipped upside down. There are no words to describe the terror of those moments.


Just that morning I had read Isaiah 41, verse 10.“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.”


When the van stopped, all of the children were hanging upside down from their carseats. Joshua rescued the baby, and Carissa crawled in and out of the shattered windows several times trying to get all the younger ones out of the crushed van. God was so gracious. With the exception of cuts and bruises from the broken glass, they were miraculously protected from major injuries. However, Autumn and I were trapped.


Isaiah 41:10 came to my mind, “Fear not; for I am with you.”


Fear flooded over me as I opened my eyes. I could hear the engine still running, Autumn’s cries for help, and a strong smell of gasoline.


“Fear not, I am with you, I will hold your right hand.”


Since her right hand was pinned under the weight of the van, she could not get out, and she was terrified. I could not get to her to help. I tried to comfort her with my voice. Together I led her to sing with me the only song that came to my mind at the moment.

”The Lord is My Shepherd”

The Lord is my Shepherd

I'll walk with Him always.

He leads me through green pastures,

I'll walk with Him always.

Always, always, I'll walk with Him always,

Always, always, I'll walk with Him always.


Over and over we sang until Rescue came. The jaws of life were used to lift the van off her crushed hand. Five different emergency vehicles were dispatched to take my children to 4 different hospitals to be evaluated. Autumn and I were rushed to our local hospital to be stabilized.


My arm was dislocated and fractured and blood was streaming down my face. The pain started to take over. Those moments in the ambulance with my brain under the influence of morphine, fearful thoughts pervaded: Where are my children? Did Autumn lose her hand? How is the baby? Where is my husband? Was anyone else injured? This is all my fault!


“Fear not, I am with you, I will hold your right hand.”


Back and forth my mind would race between the truth and my fears. My right hand was being held by God. God was holding Autumn’s right hand . . . the hand that was crushed. His presence was promised to me.


Autumn was to be life flighted to Nationwide Children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio alone—without her mama or daddy. My husband was jugging between the other seven children who had been sent to two separate local hospitals. I was transferred to the trauma center at Grant Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.


Before we were both separated and transferred, the local nurses put my bed next to Autumn. Neither of us could see each other because of the neck braces. I reached out my left hand and touched her right arm. She was sobbing, as any 12-year-old would do, knowing that I could not go with her to the hospital.


In those precious moments with my broken daughter, God again reminded me of these thoughts: “Fear Not. God is with me. He will hold mine and Autumn’s right hand.”


I promised her that she would NOT be alone, God was with her. He had PROMISED us His presence, and her Papa would meet her at the hospital.


You see, God in His providence had already orchestrated events that at that exact moment in time, my dad—who lived a good four hours west of us in Indiana—was already driving east on I-70 on his way to Ohio. In fact, he was only 15 minutes from the very hospital to which Autumn was being flown. My dad was able to meet the helicopter as it landed. She was not alone.


“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.”


During the hours that I was at Grant hospital—far away from my family, not able to comfort my children, not knowing what was happening to Autumn—I kept hearing these promises in my head: “Fear Not. God is with you. He will hold your right hand.”


His presence never ever left me. God showed up in my hospital room through the kindness of two separate dear friends, both of whom had driven several hours to be with me. Toward the early watches of the morning, I was released from the hospital, feeling exhausted and beat up.


As I walked into my daughter’s hospital room, there she was, looking very tiny in that big bed—alive, but with half her right hand gone.


Our God is faithful to us, He is with us, and He reaches out to remind us of His love. The next evening, I received a call from our pastor’s wife in Wisconsin. She shared the verse that she had written in her journal the very same day of the accident. Can you guess what it was?


Isaiah 41: 10 “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.”


The same verse. The same phrase. The same comfort. The same promise of God’s Presence.

The key to overcoming fear is resting on the promises of God. To this day I carry in my Bible, as a reminder of God’s precious promises and His loving care, a copy of the journal entry from that precious friend. It is placed in Isaiah 41 as a reminder that God is always with me.


One of the promises that He gives us in His Word is His presence. The promise of His presence has served to relieve my fears over and over again. I can bring each one of my fears to Him, exchanging my fear with His promises.


In Isaiah 41:10, God gives us two commands and five promises. “Fear not” is the first command at the beginning of the verse. The second is “be not dismayed” (do not anxiously look about you). When God tells us to fear not and do not anxiously look about, He gives us promises with those commands. These five promises are the strength behind those commands.

  • “For I am with you.”

  • “I am your God.”

  • “I will strengthen you.”

  • “Surely I will help you.”

  • “Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

I like to say it this way: God is with me; God is my God; God will strengthen me; God will help me; God will uphold me.


Do you see what God is telling us? We do not have to fear because His presence is with us. What does it say? Fear not. Why? God is with you.


So many times throughout my life, I have taken these five promises and claimed them with tears. Fear not . . . God is with me; Fear not . . . God is my God; Fear not . . . God will strengthen me; Fear not . . . God will help me; Fear not . . . God will uphold me.


I am reminded of Psalm 73:23: “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.”


I love how it is God who is holding onto the Psalmist. We are not alone. Whatever is happening to us, whatever we are walking through, no matter how we are feeling, Isaiah tells us that God is right there alongside us. God's presence is my confidence. His love is my hope. Knowing that He is holding my hand with His righteous right hand is the strength that helps me put one foot in front of the other, even when tears are streaming down my face, even when I am on my knees crying out to God for mercy, even in the middle of my broken heart, my sadness, or my chaos. God’s steadfast, loving arms are wrapped around me, never tiring of holding me.


He will not leave us—no matter how dark the night, how dangerous the valley, how fierce the flood, or how raging the fire. Three chapters later in Isaiah 43:1–3, He reminds us:

"But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

Claudia Barba, who wrote in a blog post about disappointments for “Think Bible,” said this: The Lord allows this so we can learn that peace and fulfillment are found not in getting what we want but in the presence of Jesus, the loving, living Lord Who walks with us all the way Home. (Read Claudia’s article here.)


The promise of God to give us His presence—do you know what an incredible gift and blessing we have in that promise? God says to you and me: “I am your God. I am with you in your day-to-day life. I will strengthen you in your weakness.I will help you love and disciple your children. I will uphold you when life gets out of control.”


There were days that all I could do was cry and call out to God in faith. Children watch—they see the tears, they see the pain, they see the heartache, but do they see the surrender to God, as well? Am I resting on the promise of God’s presence? Or do my children see a fearful, anxious mother? Am I the mom that consistently points my children to God in every circumstance? Am I the wife, the friend who points others to God with my actions of surrender?


You are loved dear one. He draws you. Stay in His everlasting arms. How is it possible to not stay in fear? Because of the promise, “I will be with you.” The promise of God’s presence helps me not fear.


“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4


It is NOT THAT I do not fear because I feel God with me, because I think God is with me or because I can sense His presence. I do not fear because IT IS A fact that His presence is WITH me. It is His promise. I have to believe it. My circumstances may never change, but God will never leave me.


What is the circumstance in your life today that is beyond your control? Is it sorrow, sickness, suffering, fear, unsaved relatives, disappointment, discouragement, guidance, finances, misunderstanding, cancer, hormones?


Think of the fears you face at this moment and remind yourself of God’s five promises. God can free us from fear, anxiety, and dread. It is His Word and the promises from His Word that have helped to relieve my fears many times over. As God allows trials and sometimes heart wrenching circumstance into our lives, let's bring each one of our fears and anxieties to Him, then hand them over to God, exchanging those fears with the promises of God’s Word.


“Fear not; I am with you, I will hold you with My right hand.”


 

This devotional was originally created and written for Think Bible by Stephanie Smith for ladies. Visit thinkbible.online for more uplifting and godly resources.

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