What comfort and practical wisdom might the Scriptures grant to a fear-saturated woman like Amanda? Does the Bible speak adequately to a wife’s terror of losing her husband as he performs his military duties? What implications do the Person of Christ and the gospel have on Amanda's problems? Are the Scriptures truly sufficient for Amanda's complicated fear problem? The following pages of this chapter will highlight what God has to say about Amanda's responses to her circumstances and will give a radically different diagnosis and solution to overcoming her pernicious fears.
How The Gospel and Union with Christ Impact Sinful Fear
What type of impact should the gospel of Jesus Christ have on the fear that Amanda is experiencing? Starting here will remind Amanda that she is already equipped with the power and grace of God through Christ, necessary to carry out the practical work of change. Because of what Jesus has already perfectly accomplished, Amanda can move from being a woman of fear to one of faith and loving trust.
The good news of Jesus' life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension should radically transform the thoughts that Amanda allows in her mind. Jesus died to set Amanda free from her slavish fear of death (Heb 2:14-15, 1 John 4:18). For the believer, the sting of death is gone because of Christ's work on the cross (1 Cor 15:54-57). The resurrection of Christ attains for her a living hope of an incorruptible inheritance kept in heaven for her (1 Pet 1:3-4). Even as she contemplates the potential loss of her husband Adam, these same truths should saturate her fears and turn them to praise. Her husband, and brother in Christ, is destined to be with his Lord should he leave this earth before she does.
The Apostle Paul's words of encouragement to the Thessalonians about those who "have fallen asleep" in the Lord should remind her to not prematurely grieve without hope prior to Adam's passing, nor grieve without hope should he indeed go to be with his Savior (1 Thess 4:13-18). Through meditating on the gospel and all of its gracious benefits on both her and Adam's behalf, Amanda will focus less on a possible temporal loss and more on the treasure and delight stored up for her eternally in heaven, where both she and Adam will receive the goal of their faith, the salvation of their souls (1 Pet 1:9).
The gospel of Christ should also be a balm to Amanda's soul when she fails to respond to her fears biblically. She should recollect that the sacrificial death of Christ covered all of her sins in the past, in the present, and in the future. There is no longer any condemnation for her in Christ (Rom 8:1). As such, she stands in the grace of God, with Jesus' perfect record of righteousness, as if she had always obeyed and trusted the Father perfectly (2 Cor 5:21, Rom 1:17, 1 Cor 1:30). When she does sin, she can know with perfect assurance that God is for her, that God loves her, and that God sees the perfect record of his Son when he looks at her. Hence, Amanda can enter boldly into the throne room of grace and confess her sins of anxiety, worry, and fear, knowing that God will cleanse her from all her unrighteousness when she comes to Him in repentance (Heb 4:16, 1 John 1:9).
How might Amanda's union with Christ help transform the way she thinks about and interprets her earthly fears? In defining what union in Christ means, Wayne Grudem states the following:
Union with Christ is a phrase used to summarize several different relationships between believers and Christ, through which Christians receive every benefit of salvation. These relationships include the fact that we are in Christ, Christ is in us, we are like Christ, and we are with Christ.
So then, Amanda's thinking should be radically transformed as she considers the impact of her being in Christ, Christ being in her, her being like Christ, and her being with Christ. When tempted to yield to sinful fear by day or by night, Amanda can know with certainty as a result of her union with Christ that she has a powerful advocate in heaven interceding on her behalf (Rom 8:27, 34, Heb 7:25). When jolted awake by fearful dreams, or when tempted to allow her anxious thoughts to rule her days, she can remember the fact that her Lord intercedes for her and that the Spirit intercedes in perfect accordance with the will of God. Second, she can bring to mind the fact that as a result of being "in Christ," God will use every circumstance in her life to further conform her into the image of the Son (Rom 8:28-30, James 1:2-4). Neither trouble nor death can separate Amanda from the love of Christ (Rom 8:35-39)! In fact, God has promised to use whatever comes into her life for her ultimate good and His glory. Third, union with Christ makes Amanda not only an heir, but also a treasured, loved daughter of the Most High God. According to Scripture, both Amanda and Adam have received a spirit of sonship (Rom 8:15-17). Rather than being a slave to fear, Amanda can cry out to her "Abba" Father, knowing that whatever sufferings in Christ she shares, she will also share in His future glory.
Key Passages from Scripture
Psalm 139:1-18 should go a long way to remind Amanda of God’s omniscience, omnipresence, and great sovereignty in her life and the life of her husband. Second Corinthians 10:3-5 and Philippians 4:4-9 will give Amanda a whole new understanding of the role she should play in taking her fearful and anxious thoughts captive.
There are three realities about God in Psalm 139:1-18 that can expel fears and bring great comfort to Amanda.