Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.
Proverbs 3:25-26 NKJV
I couldn’t move. Couldn’t talk. Could barely breathe. Time seemed to stand still. My mind and body were frozen in a dark place as helplessness washed over me. My emotions were out of control, spiraling downward.
Fear comes in many forms, one of which is a panic attack. If you’ve ever experienced one, you know the symptoms all too well: sweaty palms, tight chest, and extreme weakness. The Bible calls it “sudden fear.” I’ve suffered through two of these over my lifetime.
In today’s world filled with stress and so much uncertainty, numerous demands on our time and energy, and so many unknowns, these attacks have become commonplace, sometimes requiring therapy or medication. Fear grabs us by the throat and tries to choke the life out of us. But fear—like everything else—is subject to the laws of God and must bow to the name of Jesus.
If you struggle with this type of sudden fear, learn to recognize it immediately. Don’t wait until you’re caught in its grasp. Here are a few suggestions to help you overcome:
- Breathe. Fear causes our chest to constrict, producing short, shallow gasps of air. This cuts off the oxygen supply to our brain. This can lead to hyperventilation and even passing out. Whatever you do, don’t hold your breath. Take a deep, cleansing breath to calm yourself. Relax your body, then do it again. And again …
- Pray. Call out to the Lord, whether silently or out loud, even if it’s just to speak His name. The name of Jesus carries power and can drive away fear. When you call, He will answer. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).
- Praise. Not only does God inhabit the praises of His people, praise will drive away the Enemy. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We don’t thank God for the problems, but we praise Him in the midst of—and in spite of—them. Praise sets the stage for God to intervene and show Himself strong on your behalf.
- Talk to yourself. Take your focus off your situation and turn it to the Word. Again, whether silently or out loud, let the Scriptures wash over you: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Fear not, for I am with you (Isaiah 41;10). For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Resist the Devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
God’s plan for us is to walk in perfect peace. The peace that only He can give. To be strong in the power of His might. To be confident in His Word and His ability to come to our rescue.
Don’t allow sudden fear to come upon you. Speak to it in Jesus’ name.