Why am I Scared When Things are Going Right?
Message: When things have finally started to turn in my favor, I start struggling with my mental health. I've been pushing through as hard as I can and trust and love God. However, when I grow fearful, I blame him and lash out. How do I refrain from doing so? How do I stand before God with a trembling faith and humble myself? This season is very hard and scary for me, especially when I'm finally going somewhere great in life. Also, how do I ask God for the purpose of this season? I know trials and tribulations are there to test us, but often times the storm gets too intense.
Response: Thank you for sending in your question. It sounds like two things are happening: You want to know how to refrain from thinking pessimistically when things are in your favor, which causes you to get fearful and blame God/lash out and second, you want to understand the purpose of this season and how to make it through when the storm becomes too intense. The Bible provides us a lot of wisdom on these topics but also provides us many practical examples of how others made it through. It is up to us to trust the Word of the Lord and to live by it in our lives.
It's very easy to fear the worst when everything is going right. We know that although we have a great job, the company could mis-manage funds leading to a lawsuit, bankruptcy, and firing staff. We know if we are in good health, we can easily contract something. We know when we are successful in our endeavors in work or school, this can cause someone to become jealous and try to sabotage our reputations. At any moment, things can go from sunshine and butterflies to a torrential storm. But it is unwise to worry or fear the future for three reasons; 1) our worrying won't make a difference (Matthew 6.27), 2) the Word of God tells us not to (Philippians 4.6), 3) it doesn't show trust in the Lord (Isaiah 41.10, Psalm 56.3). Worrying and fearing for the worst will not change a single thing about what is bound to happen. If we have a job interview for a job that is not meant for us, no amount of worrying or fearing the outcome will actually change the outcome. If the job is not meant for us, we will not be selected. Period. Yet if the job is ours, worrying that we messed up in the interview does not make a difference. We will have the job because the Lord has given it to us.
There are many examples of God's people facing obstacles that some might be afraid of or worry about. Yet, they put their trust in the Lord. In the book of Acts, we read about Paul's journey throughout the land preaching the gospel news. When Paul was ready to head to Jerusalem, he was told exactly what would happen to him there, "After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied it around his own hands and feet with it and said, 'The Holy Spirit says, "In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles" ' When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem." Acts 21.10-12. Naturally, when Paul's friends heard that he would suffer in Jerusalem, they were frightened, worried, and did not want Paul to go. Yet Paul COMPLETELY trusted in God's will for his life saying "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." Acts 21.13. This is profound! Many of us worry without even knowing what will happen but upon knowing exactly what would happen, Paul still moved on to Jerusalem. This teaches us to trust God's plan for us even if it means doing something, we are afraid to do or facing harm. God will never give us a task that is too heavy for us to bear.
In Paul's case, he knew exactly what the outcome would be but continued on in God's will. In the book of Mark, we read about the disciples who had no idea what would happen to them. In Mark chapter 4, Jesus Christ and the disciples were traveling by boat away from the people. I'm sure every time the disciples boarded a boat, they knew the risks involved. They knew the boat could capsize. They knew there could be a storm. But knowing that worrying would not change their circumstance, they decided to get on the boat. At first, everything was going right, as it is in your life. And then, a storm came. Instead of trusting the Lord THROUGH the storm, they began to panic. Out of their frantic nature, they informed Jesus about the storm who was sleeping peacefully in the bottom of the boat. The Lord never gives us more than we can bear so when Jesus learned of the storm, He simply calmed the waves restoring peace to the sea. He then asked the disciples why they had no faith in Him (Mark 4.35-41). The Lord can do the same in your life if only you have faith. When the storm comes heavy on you, ask God to calm the waves and return your heart to peace.
One of the most drastic stories in the Bible about things changing from perfectly well to horribly wrong is the book of Job. The man Job from the land of Uz is described as "blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil" (Job 1.1). Job was a faithful servant of the Lord. But as you probably know, Job faced great trials and tribulations when God allowed Satan to kill all his valuables (oxen, donkeys, sheep, and camels), his ten children, and his health. Job was left poor and sick covered in painful sores from his head to his toes (Job 1.13-19, 2.7). However, Job did not lash out at God. Even when his wife told him to "curse God and die" (Job 2.9), Job maintained his integrity. He did not sin by blaming God (Job 1.22). It would have been a sin for Job to blame God. The Lord does not owe us anything. He gave us life and a free-will. We make decisions every day and sometimes choose to do wrong. In all honesty, if God gave us what we deserve, we would have nothing because of how sinful we are. When God chooses to let everything go right in our lives, we should thank God! But when God chooses to allow trials and tribulations to happen, we should STILL thank God and trust in His sovereignty!
When it comes to refraining from thinking pessimistically when things are in your favor and staying away from blaming/lashing out at God, it is most important to remember God's sovereignty. This important word means so much to Christians and the way we walk fearfully and humbly before the Lord. To have sovereignty means to have complete and total power over something. For example, you have complete power over your hair. If you choose to cut it, you can. If you choose to color it, that's your right. If you want to straighten it, nobody can tell you no. If you want it curly, no one can stop you. If your hair says to you "Why are you coloring me? Why are you cutting me? I like when I'm long!" you would not listen to your hair because you have complete power over your hair and can make decision without your hair getting to speak. Although God Almighty is completely sovereign over this world and everything in it, He is so gracious to us and gives us the ability to come to Him, make requests, and ask for things from Him. Even though He could choose for us, He allows us to have a voice. Sometimes, the Lord will grant the desires of our hearts. Sometimes, He makes us wait. And other times, He says no. But we know that He works out all things for our good! (Romans 8.28). We have to trust that no matter what He puts us through, whether it be a season of good times or a season of bad times, it is all for our good.
When it comes to understanding the purpose of this season and how to make it through when the storm becomes too intense, we must trust in the Lord. We may never be given the reason we are going through a storm. Job was never told why he went through his trials. The disciples never understood why they were hit with a storm. But they all learned from those experiences. Job proved to be a man of integrity and learned that God is sovereign over his life. The disciples learned to have faith in Jesus and that He would never give them a storm they could not bear. Whether we are going through good times or bad, we can come and talk with the Lord. We can reason with him (Isaiah 1.18). We can come boldly before His throne without fear (Hebrews 4.16). We can ask for things in the name of Jesus and believe that we have received it (Mark 11.24). We can trust that no matter what we are going through, the Lord guides our steps (Proverbs 16.9). We can trust in the Lord.
The Word of God is not a book of nice sayings written thousands of years ago. The Word of God is not a book of suggestions that sound nice and can be taken into consideration when we want to. The Word of God is non-optional. The Word of God is a must. We must follow His Word. When the Word says to trust, we don't have a choice. We must trust as the Word says. The Word of the Living God is alive and because it is alive, it sparks action. When the Word of the Living God is read and goes into your heart, it does not return to the Lord void but causes you to change in your heart and to take action to follow what the Word says (Isaiah 55.11). If we put our faith in the loving Lord who saved us from all our sins, we can cast out fear (1 John 4.18). "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests 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).