When Your Friend is Paralyzed with Fear
When your friend is facing circumstances that totally paralyze her with fear and she’s drowning in a sea of terror, how can you send out a lifeboat of hope and rescue? Here are a few ideas:
Instill courage through life-giving words.
We don’t know what the immediate outcome of a situation will be, but we do know this: God sees, He knows, and He cares. It is important to remind a fearful friend of this when she is wondering where God is in the mess of her life. You can assure her that even if she doesn’t feel His hand or hear His voice, He is here. He is at work, and He cares:
“So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me’” (Gen. 16:13).
“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him” (Nah. 1:7).
Remind her of God’s sovereignty.
It helps to remind ourselves and others that we’ve not yet seen the rest of the story. We don’t know how this immediate crisis will be resolved, but we can trust that God is working to bring about His redemptive purposes. There is no greater truth to hold onto when you’re in a storm than the truth that God is sovereign, and His purposes are good:
“We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son” (Rom. 8:28–29).
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20).
Invite the Spirit to work.
When your friend feels she is drowning in a sea of disaster, remind her that we can’t fix things or save ourselves—our only hope is crying out for help and following God’s directions. Ask God to be her help in time of need; invite Him to lead her through the storm:
“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Ps. 50:15)
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jer. 33:3).
Find your rest, security, and comfort in knowing the great I AM.
The answer your friend needs to resting in the midst of chaos and confusion is to look beyond the storm to the One who alone can calm storms. To see beyond the darkness to the One who is the Light of the world. To rest in His power and ability to work and bring deliverance. When she focuses her eyes on Him, she will find courage to walk through any dark valley because she knows the power of the great I AM, and in Him there is safety:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. . . . I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior” (Isa. 43:2, 11).
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken” (Ps. 62:1–2).
When you’re walking with a friend through her darkest night, care for her soul by pouring out truth and taking her heart to the place of safety: trusting in God alone.
I’d love for you to add to this list by sharing how you send out a lifeboat when your friend needs help. What do you say to a friend who is drowning in terror?
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