Today’s post, Overcoming Your Fear of Bad News, is for the girl whose too scared to turn on the 5′ o clock news. Stop hugging your knees in that dark corner of the room and come ‘ere a sec. It’s story-time.
Once upon a time…
I was so afraid of bad news that I preferred to be ignorant of what was going on around me. I spared no effort to prevent myself from catching wind of the latest happening, tragedy, or controversy. Just the thought of watching the news made my blood burn and the hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention. During my morning commute, I kept my radio dial on the music stations, and when scrolling down my Facebook feed I avoided all political wall posts like the plague. But my efforts to remain ignorant never brought me the bliss I had anticipated.
Meanwhile during my devotional Bible reading, I was constantly convicted by the compassion that Christ showed those who approached Him with their bad news.
“A man came and knelt before Jesus and said, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him (Matt 17: 14b-16).’”
“…[A] leader of a synagogue came and knelt before him. ‘My daughter has just died,’ he said, ‘but you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand on her (Matt 9:18-19).’”
Christ didn’t run away from bad news. He welcomed it. He willingly and lovingly confronted the fear and devastation of others, even when they didn’t ask for his help. On one occasion, Jesus takes the hand of a blind man, pulls him aside, and restores his eyesight (Mark 8:22-26). Another time he walks up to a paralyzed man at the Pool of Bethsaida and asks him, “Do you want to be healed? (John 5:6, ESV)” Jesus saw every proclamation of bad news as an opportunity to make a declaration of the good news of the gospel.
The Turning Point
It finally dawned on me that I couldn’t live the rest of my life cupping my ears, hiding under my bed covers, and praying that none of the evil in the world made its way to my doorstep. I had it all wrong. I wasn’t designed to cower from darkness. I was fashioned by God to confront it with the light of Christ. So I finally confessed this fear I had to God and asked Him to help me follow Christ’s example by responding courageously, full of faith, and compassionately to bad news.
Are you fed up with your fear of bad news? Done with passively accepting evil as the norm without exercising your spiritual authority or (secondly) your civil rights? You’re still reading this, so I assume that’s a “yes.” Here are 6 ways to overcome your fear of bad news.
6 Ways to Overcome your fear of bad news
1 | Recognize God with your worship when you hear bad news.
If panic seizes you when you hear bad news, it will debilitate you. Don’t allow fear to cause you to forget God. When Job received the bad news that his children, servants, and possessions were destroyed, in the midst of his mourning, his first response was to worship God (Job 1: 20-22). He did not allow his loss to cause him to forget the One who supplied him with all of those blessings.
In your case, when you feel threatened by bad news on your job, in your school, in your home, or even in your country, remember it is God who supplies the blessings and prosperity you receive. It’s God who protects you on a day-to-day basis. It is God, not the government, not your job, not even yourself that causes you to live and breathe each day, moment-by-moment.
Tragedy is not the time to distance yourself from God, because He is the one who gives and the One who takes away. “We take the good days from God–why not also the bad days (Job 2: 10, MSG)?” We may not always know why God allows the bad news to come, but we do know that God is the one who loved us enough to give us every good thing we’ve ever experienced. That is enough to trust that He will carry us when the bad news comes.
2 | Know the truth & rehearse it.
Bad news cripples us when we allow it to cause us to forget the source of our peace and security. It overwhelms us when we forget that God is our unmovable comfort and defense. When you feel threatened civically by wicked politicians, physically by war or disease, financially by your employer or check deductions, socially by spiraling immorality, or spiritually by the enemies of God, rehearse the truths of God’s word. Say them out loud. Meditate on them. Sing them. Wear them. Decorate your home with them. Put them on your phone and computer desktops. Immerse yourself with God’s truth so that when the enemies’ armies camp outside the city of your heart, you’ll remember the towering wall of God’s presence that surrounds and protects you. Here’s a free printable with scriptural truths for your meditation in the midst of bad news.
3 | Pray through the news reports.
Instead of moping and cringing at the news reports, why not lift up the problems to the Divine Problem-Solver, Jesus Christ. Remember when Mary approached Jesus at the wedding at Cana, asking Him to intervene when the wedding party ran out of wine (John 2)? It wasn’t Jesus’ problem, but Mary’s act of presenting the problem to Him created an opportunity for Jesus to display His power. When you listen to the news, present your neighborhood’s, your city’s, your country’s, and the world’s problems to Jesus. He’s waiting for you to invite Him to solve them.
4 | Expose yourself to biblical conversations about current events.
In the midst of my own struggle with the bad news of 2016, I prayed to God for a radio ministry that I could listen to during my daily commute and receive training on applying a biblical worldview to what was taking place around me. The answer to that prayer came on my drive home from work. As I was surfing through the radio stations, I heard a woman ranting passionately. So I decided to see what she was all hyped up about. Come to find out (that’s southern talk, y’all) the woman was talking about the church. That passionate woman was Meeke Addison of Airing the Addisons on Urban Family Talk.
Urban Family Talk is a ministry of the American Family Association dedicated to informing and empowering Black families to grow into mature disciples by wisely applying Biblical truth to our issues and interests. If you are looking for a way to expose yourself to the issues of today while receiving discipleship and a healthy dose of hope at the same time, (whether you’re black or not) I urge you to listen to Urban Family Talk via your radio, phone, or computer. You will be equipped to serve and exercise your civil liberties empowered by a biblical worldview.
5 | Step out of your comfort-zone by exposing yourself to the comments of others (both Christian and secular), and voicing the Biblical perspective.
“Why not voice my own opinion?” You ask? Because as a Christ follower, you don’t have an opinion. You have the Word of God. Your opinion compared to God’s truth is worthless. For as long as humanity has existed, foolish people have asserted their own thoughts about human worth, gender roles, relationships, morality, and so on. Don’t add your name to the list of people whose opinions have deteriorated society at large. Instead be known as a voice of wisdom, leading your people back to the fear and knowledge of God.
Voicing the biblical perspective and solution to today’s problems also helps non-believers grasp a better understanding of the gospel and what it means to follow Christ. We need more people to speak up, because through secular news outlets and entertainment the image of the Christian is constantly being slanderously portrayed. Be a voice of clarity to those who don’t know what we Christians stand for.
6 | Do something about it.
Whose message carries the farthest? The sayer’s message, or the doer’s message? Everybody with an opinion is quick to say something, very few people are adpt to actually do something about it. But it’s the doers that get stuff done, and whose opinions people actually acknowledge. Want more people to acknowledge God’s way of doing things? Go out there and start doing things God’s way. Don’t wait for crowds follow you before you start making a difference. You start by being a leader right now. Do what you can do. God will cover your inadequacies. The effective efforts of collective individuals like you will bring more light into this world, if you find your peace and security in your Father and allow Him to use you.
God, you didn’t make me to cower from darkness. You fashioned me to confront it with the light of Christ. Lord, I’m sorry for the times where I forgot that you were in control, and that my safety, peace, and comfort are found in you. I will lift up my bad news and the issues of my neighbors, city, country, and world to you in prayer. You are capable of solving these problems. I choose to trust you when I receive bad news, and I will cling to You in the middle of my affliction because you are the sources of every good thing I’ve ever experienced. You will secure me in the midst of my storms. You will use me to be a positive answer when others are in circumstances that cause them to question “Is God good?” Thank you, God, for hearing my prayer and for strengthening me. In Jesus name I pray, amen.