“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, peace and a sound mind” — 2 Timothy 1:7 (New King James Version of the Bible).
Many years ago, I woke up one morning and something so subtle, yet so life-changing, happened to me. I heard what I thought was a radio that was slightly out of range of a station. I pretty much ignored the ring for the entire day until I woke up the second morning with the same ring; however, the sound was louder and definitely more annoying. After looking throughout my room, I realized that there was no radio in my room and the ringing was coming from my head rather than any outside frequencies.
After, thinking about and listening to that ring that entire day, I was so fearful about how this ring was going to affect my sleep. Just as I suspected, I couldn’t sleep the entire night. I tossed and turned the entire night, all the while thinking about when and if this ring would ever go away. As the days went by, so did my sanity. After a couple of weeks, then months of this ring, I literally felt my mind slipping into an area that was dangerously close to what a person would call “going crazy.”
I have to say, this was one of the most difficult personal circumstances that I would have to overcome. Since the doctors couldn’t help me, my family or friends couldn’t help me, I turned to my only hope — God.
I prayed and prayed, and the more I prayed, it seemed, the more into the abyss I felt my brain slipping. Then, one day, I read the scripture “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of peace, love and a sound mind.” I had, in the past, read that scripture dozens of times, but this time I read it with desperation. I then began to read it on a daily basis. I then began to recite it in my mind every time I got a chance. Though the fogginess and the ring in my mind didn’t clear up immediately, I noticed that I truly started to believe that God has given me a “sound mind.”
I can’t tell you how much that experience increased my faith. I can’t tell you how much my mind has strengthened since God has made it “sound.” But I can tell you, he can do the same for you. No matter how big your fear is, no matter how big the challenges that you face are, God is a big God, and when he says that he’s not given you a spirit of fear but of love, peace and a sound mind, that is exactly what he means.
If you live in fear or great uncertainty — write down this scripture in your brain. Recite it every time you get a chance, and it will be only a matter of time before you will begin to see the strength of God more than you see your numbing fears.
• The Rev. Gilbert Ybarra is minister of The River of Life Christian Fellowship. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.