What’s one of the most surprising challenges of success? In times when everything is going well, life is good, and money isn’t an issue, fear can sneak in and affect your entire life. Whether it’s a fear of failure, fear of success, fear of people, or even a fear of socializing, some of the most successful people have struggled with anxiety.
Actor and songwriter, Al Kasha, for example, had it all but still struggled with fear. He had already fought his way through an eating disorder, workaholism, and drug abuse when agoraphobia imprisoned him in his home.
When Al was seven, he appeared on Broadway with Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun. His brother, Larry, became a Tony Award-winning theater producer. Al’s career soon blossomed by writing the hit song “The Morning After” and winning his first Academy Award. As a result of the award, he experienced one of the worst panic attacks of his life.
Al’s battle with agoraphobia intensified, and he and his wife, Ceil, separated. In a rented apartment, Al sat up all night, trying to figure out a way to get his life back together. And he heard a television minister say that fear could be removed by having Jesus in one’s life.
It was hard for Al to say the name Jesus because of his Jewish upbringing. But he finally said the name and began to pray, weep, confess his sins, and beg God to help him reconcile with his wife.
That night, deep in his heart, Al heard God speak these powerful words: “You are My son, and I love you.” His agoraphobia disappeared. His wife reconciled with him. And his new life of freedom from fear had begun.
When you cry out to the Lord as Al did, God will hear and answer you.
One example in Scripture of someone crying out to the Lord was Peter when he was on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were in the middle of the Sea of Galilee at night. When a storm arose, they looked up and saw Jesus walking on the water. The disciples were afraid, which makes sense. Who would expect to see anyone walking on top of the water, even under the best of conditions?
Peter was the only one of the disciples who responded in true faith. For Peter to say, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water” (Matthew 14:28, NLT) was a tremendous act of faith. He was the only one who spoke that way. But as Peter was walking, there was a moment he took his eyes off Jesus, became scared, and began to sink. It was then that he cried, “Save me, Lord!” (v. 30). And Jesus saved him.
What should your first response be when fear sets in and spills over into your everyday life? Like Peter and Al did, cry out the name of Jesus. Turn to the Lord. And choose faith over fear.
By Steve Arterburn