Rev. Doug Johnson: In uncertain times, there are songs to alleviate uncertainty

Published 1:59 am Sunday, August 23, 2020

One day, a backwoods farmer was sitting on the steps of his tumble-down shack when a stranger came by and asked for a drink of water.

“How’s your wheat coming along?” asked the stranger.

“Didn’t plant none,” the farmer replied.

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“Really? I thought this was good wheat country.”

“Afraid it would rain.”

“Well, how is your corn crop?”

“Ain’t got none. Afraid of corn blight.”

The stranger, confused but persevering, continued, “Well, sir, how are your potatoes?”

“Didn’t plant no potatoes either… afraid of potato bugs.”

“For Pete’s sake, man! What did you plant?”

“Nothing,” said the farmer. “I just played it safe.”

The farmer had allowed fear to keep him from taking risks, and as a result, he’d lost out on a bountiful harvest.

What are you afraid of? National research by shows the following hierarchy of fears: Speaking before a group of people tops the list at number one, feared by 61.7 percent of those interviewed. Fear of financial problems comes next at 54.8 percent followed by death, loneliness, and heights. The rest of the top 10 includes the fear of insects and bugs (this fear is greater among women than men); followed by deep water, darkness, sickness, and flying.

Fear is the most devastating emotion known to mankind… it can turn warriors into wimps and powerful Christians into powerless pew-sitters.

The Apostle Paul encouraged his young protégé Timothy not to allow fear to overcome him. He wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Paul called fear a ’spirit’ and he knew it was very real! Many people today are having nervous breakdowns and panic attacks because of fear.
So how can we overcome fear?

Paul gives us the antidote in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.” (NIV)

In other words, the greatest way to combat fear is through prayer and praise. When we pray, we have the assurance that God hears us. And when we praise, His peace will remove all fear and doubt.

I’m reminded of the song, “What A Friend We Have in Jesus.” The chorus reminds us: “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear… all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

We live in a world full of pandemics, terrorists, snipers, and suicide bombers. It seems we are surrounded by fear on every side. And sometimes the fear of the unknown can be the most devastating one of all.

But when we pray, God will give us His power, His love, and a sound mind!

So, the next time you’re faced with fear remember these words from another old song, “Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone! Because I know He holds the future…and life is worth the living just because He lives!”

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.