It’s hard to even describe the level of fear I felt in the first few hours after I met my adopted daughter in Tianjin, China. We’d just completed six months of sign language tutoring because we knew deafness was one of her special needs, but we’d also been trained to expect and prepare for significant medical and emotional issues. Obviously, we hoped for the best.
But that first night in China, it felt like all of our hopes for her healing and thriving were crushed. Joy couldn’t walk. She couldn’t communicate. It seemed like she wasn’t really there with us at all. And I remember I hid under the white hotel covers, sobbing and wondering if our family would ever be okay again.
And then, I opened my suitcase and there was a card with a Bible verse on it. Right on top of my sloppily packed clothes, God’s Word was staring me in the face.
I’m certain I wasn’t looking for God’s Word in that moment of paralyzing panic. I was convinced our family would be hurting forever, and I was probably looking for my sweatpants. 🙂
But my friend from church had given me a pack of Scripture cards before I left for the trip, and when that verse found me, heartbroken and anxious in a hotel room on the other side of the world, it was like Jesus was right there in the room holding me in His arms. His words on that card reminded me I wasn’t alone. Those living and active words assured me I wasn’t ruined because God was with me. The Holy Spirit used His truth on that card to give me that so-often-elusive PEACE my heart always longs for.
Why God’s Word Is Important
If you’ve ever found yourself in a Tianjin-hotel-room situation, you know what it means to fight with anxiety. It can feel like a war or a wrestling match or a battle of wits. Often, when I’m anxious, I fight it with words. I will try to talk it out. I rehearse conversations and worst-case scenarios. I troubleshoot my terror. But that doesn’t help. My own words in my head only make it worse.
Guys, there are so many better words to fight with when we are fighting with fear.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children … Romans 8:15-16
If we are going to cry out, let’s cry out the Word of God. If we are going to fight, and we are, let’s fight on the side of our heavenly Father who has never lost and never will.
When we fight with God’s perfect Word, instead of our flawed ones, we can experience God Himself. The Bible isn’t just a book from history; it is a book from heaven (Ps. 119:89). It doesn’t just have old words; it has God’s words (2 Tim. 3:16). It isn’t just lengthy; it is alive (1 Pet. 1:23). The Bible literally does supernatural work in your heart while you read it (Isa. 55:11).
Fight the Right Way Using the Right Words
Remembering that night in China, and how God spoke to my heart from a card in a suitcase, makes me so excited about these Scripture printables that go with Anxious, my Bible study on fighting anxiety with God’s Word. Having God’s Word on a printout in your luggage when you’re scared or on your mirror when you’re insecure or on the dashboard when you’re driving to the infusion clinic is such a simple, beautiful way to interact with Jesus and experience His transforming power, which leads to peace.
I hope you will download them and use them and that one day, at just the right moment, God will work through them to speak to your heart. That He will whisper to you, from an unexpected place, the words you need right then, to fight the fear you face. And that you’ll find yourself, all of a sudden, with a smile on your face when you thought you might cry forever. In Jesus, you can fight and win, because you are the Father’s and He has the words.
Grab your copy of Scarlet Hiltibidal’s new Bible study, Anxious: Fighting Anxiety with the Word of God. Join Scarlet in this 8-session study to learn how we can practically take hold of the perfect peace that is only available through God as we dive deeply into His Word, embrace the practice of prayer, and live authentically in the support of our communities of faith. Read an excerpt here!
Scarlet Hiltibidal is the author of Afraid of All the Things and Anxious, as well as other books and Bible studies. She writes regularly for ParentLife Magazine and She Reads Truth, and she enjoys speaking to women around the country about the freedom and rest available in Jesus. Scarlet has a degree in biblical counseling and taught elementary school before she started writing. She and her husband live in Southern California, where she loves doing sign language with her three daughters, eating nachos by herself, writing for her friends, and studying stand-up comedy with a passion that should be reserved for more important pursuits.