The Undertow of Fear

When a dangerous undertow at our favorite childhood beach pulled my little brother, Ed, under the water and further from the shore, he almost drowned. Inside the vicious swirl of water, an older cousin fought relentlessly yet futilely to free Ed from the monster’s grasp.

Nearby sunbathers and swimmers mocked the cries of my loved ones because they weren’t far from the shore. How could they be drowning?

A young man, unseen by people on the beach, saw my brother and cousin from the second-floor window of his apartment. From a high vantage point, he realized they were in peril.

He ran down the stairs, across the hot sand, and into the salty water risking his life to save my brother.  

With hope of rescue, Ed grasped the hand of the stranger. The man who saw the whole situation from above, was a blessing from God.

As we navigate the waters of the Coronavirus, this vicious enemy threatens to ensnare our attention, fill us with fear, and rob us of peace.

Try as we might, we cannot escape the reality of the pandemic. Fighting the onslaught of the virus with knowledge and caution helps protect us. Health professionals and government officials work to stem the tide of this invisible enemy.

However, no human effort can turn fear into peace.   

There is One who sees all aspects of our lives from a high vantage point and knows our need for rescue and peace. The Lord Jesus Christ gave His life on Calvary that we might have a personal relationship with God once we confess our sins and surrender our life to Him.

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Acts 4:12

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Romans 10:9-10

He’s holding out His hand to you today. If you don’t know Him, He offers forgiveness of sin and a personal relationship with Him now and throughout eternity.

To believers, He holds out His hand to offer peace and freedom from the undertow of fear.  

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 

John 14:27

When an overdose of news assails us with facts and predictions, what can we do to focus on the peace of Christ? When we hear of loved ones or others who are sick, how can we respond?

Here are ideas that help me:

  1. Create a prayer list. Include those who are sick, healthcare workers, and government officials.  
  2. Incorporate physical activity into your schedule. Walk outside or exercise indoors.
  3. Read Scripture daily and memorize verses about God’s protection and peace. Click the link to see a beautiful gallery of encouragement from my friend, MarilynNutter .
  4. Share good news you hear in this difficult time. Here are heart-warming stories I’ve heard:
  • A neighbor ordered food for a hearing-impaired man who couldn’t call or pay. This act of kindness provided a nutritious meal and gave peace to a gentleman anxious about dinner.
  • Two friends of mine made fabric masks for my daughter who is a healthcare worker. The masks gave her an extra level of protection and lessened her fear.   
  • With quantity limits and short supplies, one shopper purchased an item another person needed which relieved anxiety and resulted in gratitude.  
  • A teacher friend spent eight hours today helping students via email. She cleared up misunderstandings and explained new content so the education of her students could continue.  
  • My neighbor delivered groceries to an elderly couple relieving their fear of leaving home to shop.
  • Sunday School class members mailed restaurant gift cards to a lady who broke her leg enabling family members to purchase carry-out plates.

God offers peace to defeat the undertow of fear, and He allows us to minister peace to others.  

Please share how you seek peace from God or good news you’ve heard about people reaching out to others.

Bible verses are from the ESV.

Please feel free to share this post!

26 thoughts on “The Undertow of Fear

  1. A beautiful post for such a time as this, Jeannie. May we all look above to the throne of God for our help, Love you

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, sweet friend. Looking to God’s throne is a perfect reminder.

    • Jeannie, what a wonderful article! So timely and helpful with ideas in which to bless others. And I love the kindness of those you wrote about who ministered to others, especially to Tyler! And I remember the time Ed nearly drowned. Wasn’t it Betty who got to him first? Love you and so proud of you!

      • Post Author Jeannie Waters

        Yes, Evelyn, it was Betty who struggled to save him. Isn’t it exciting to see various ways people are ministering to others in the middle of this pandemic? Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. Excellent suggestions and perfect timing, Jeannie!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Glenda, a faithful reader. God is always our only hope, but in the current situation with the Coronavirus, we are being reminded of that truth.

  3. Beautiful and much-needed words for today … and any day. Thank you for sharing, Jeannie!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Julie, for reading and commenting. I think the examples set by other people can remind us of the responsibility and blessing of sharing kindness with others. I know you agree.

  4. Jeannie, what a beautiful illustration and truths in this post. The practical suggestions are excellent. Thank you for sharing.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Marilyn, I appreciate your kind words. I hope readers will click on the link to your site that I included in the post. Your post was the most beautiful declaration of truth I’ve seen lately.

  5. What great peace comes from knowing He sits on high and is watching over us Ms. Jeannie. I pray He rescues us from this terrible pandemic, but as the boys in Daniel 3 remind us, “Even if” it is well with our souls; for our trust remains in our Lord. Thank you for this ever-important reminder ma’am. As our nation’s currency reminds us “In God We Trust.”

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      J. D., you are right that our trust remains in our faithful God for all circumstances. I appreciate your reminder of the phrase on our currency “In God We Trust.” May we be found faithful. I appreciate your comments.

  6. An uplifting post, Jeannie. Thank you! Many years ago, I went through a very dark time and fell into a pit of sin. Your reference to the hand of Jesus reaching out to us, brought back my memory of Jesus pulling me from the pit. He was always willing to rescue me, but I had to reach for His hand. It’s much the same today, we need to reach out to Him for the safety and security He will provide. Thank you for your inspiring words and the blessing you’ve brought to me today.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Katherine, your words blessed me today! Thank you for sharing your tender memories of Jesus reaching you. As you know, He is the only One who offers lasting peace and security.

  7. I love how people are reaching out and showing the love of God. I recently asked on social media for ways people are finding joy. I am happy to report many, many ways of finding joy are still being reported. 🙂

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      That’s wonderful, Melissa. I’m thankful to see that many joy reports were recorded. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  8. Wonderful encouragement Jeannie. Thanks

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      You are most welcome. I like to remember God is on His throne and sees us. Thank you, Pam.

  9. You gave us a powerful image of fear, Jeannie. It is an undertow ready to pull us under and overwhelm our lives if we let it. I love your list of ways to swim above this dangerous wave. I am also glad you brother was saved. Thanks for the post!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Barbara, for commenting after reading. Fear can be a powerful foe until we turn it over to God, can’t it? “Greater is He who is in us!”

  10. Great reminders that we “abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Thank you for sharing your heart during such turbulent times….

  11. Love those stories of people helping people, Jeanne! I could read those all day. Thank you for sharing. I also love the analogy of God watching from a high vantage point to rescue us in our need.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I like those true accounts, too, Stephanie. Isn’t it comforting to know God sees all?! Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. Jeannie,
    This was an act of Jesus with skin on! So thankful for a positive outcome. I pray that God will use all Christians, especially me to help others during this time and always.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      What a beautiful hope you expressed, Deana. “For such a time as this…” Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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