The Vaccine to Fear

Psalm 91.2

In the first week of April 1979, I faced a serious crisis of faith.  I had been job hunting for about a year and a half trying to obtain a job as a city police officer, a hunt that had begun one night as I took out the trash behind my house.  I was in my early 30’s that night, and my mind had been in turmoil for awhile as I had been evaluating the course of my life.

I had been a Christian since May of 1972, and had been working in a Christian bookstore since then that was a front for a healing and deliverance prayer ministry.  The bookstore was owned and operated by my first Christian mentor and good friend, the man who had prayed for me to become a Christian.  It was in answer to one of my very first prayers when he had offered me a job at the bookstore, and thus, delivered me from what had become an oppressive job as a roofer, working for a tyrant of a man.

I had completed my college years with an economics/business administration degree, which satisfied my parents’ goals for my education, but did not interest me in the slightest.  Thus, as the days in the bookstore morphed into a gray, predictable pattern, I had become increasingly concerned that I needed to move on…but where?  I was living in my first house with my wife and three very young children, and felt I was stuck in a dead end.  Five years later, as I took out the trash in my dark back yard, I found my answer.

My tiny house, an old, plastered-over log cabin in what was then a far western county of Saint Louis, was situated on a double lot across from a parking lot to a shopping center.  My epiphany, for such it was, occurred as I just happened to glance at the dark, and empty parking lot across the street, and as I dumped my kitchen trash I watched as a lone police car slowly drove through the parking lot, and a very decisive thought forcefully entered my head, and I said out loud, “I can do that!”, and the hunt was on.

God knew I had a lot to learn prior to embarking on this career path; on the other hand, I had no clue.  I felt I would be perfectly suited for the job, and honestly felt any city hiring me would be lucky to get me.  I had no idea I lacked humility, but in the following year and a half I learned about humility as well as how to successfully interview, but even then, it took a random statement from my brother to open the door.  He happened to mention that perhaps I should interview for a department I had never heard of, in Kansas City, of all places.  His college roommate was on the force, and he thought I might have a good chance there, and with very little optimism left after so long a search, I obtained a job application, (14 pages!), and applied.  I had expected to be turned down for the job, as I had been consistently turned down to date because I had no prior experience, and the Saint Louis departments were only hiring those with prior experience, but I was shocked when I kept getting calls to take more tests for the Kansas department.  Early in 1979 I was told I had been hired and was to report for duty on the 12th of April!  My crisis of faith smacked me in the head about a week before the 12th when I finally realized what I had done, and the reality of the risks involved.  This was a job where some men died violently, somewhere in our country, every day; it was real life, life with the bark off, and had no comparison to the “safe” jobs I had had before.

I was sitting at my desk in my house when the realization hit me.  I suddenly prayed very earnestly and asked God to confirm that His hand was upon me.  I was frightened that I had blundered past my level of faith, as indeed I had, but that level was to be adjusted and upgraded by God!  After my short, very desperate prayer, I did what many say not to do…I closed my eyes, opened my Bible at random and stuck my finger on the page.  When I opened my eyes I read, ‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.’, (Psalm 56:3).  I was stunned!  After catching my breath, I realized God had answered.  I immediately promised Him I would choose to trust Him every time I encountered fear, and I printed the verse and stuck it in my wallet, where it would remain for over twenty-five years.  It would see much use during my career!  I should note: in all that time, in many crazy situations, GOD NEVER FAILED ME ONCE!

One incident comes to mind as a typical God-answer: I was facing a very large, very aggressive, very drunk and angry man who had been fomenting a chaotic family disturbance.  I had asked him to spend the night in a hotel until he could sober up, and he was having none of it.  As he moved in front of me, I silently prayed to God that I was trusting in Him, and then I stood still and said nothing.  After a few very long seconds, the man blinked and stated, “Okay, I’ll go with you to a hotel.”  I was simply stunned, as was my only backup, a very new trainee who later asked me what had just happened!  I told him God had answered my prayer.

Last night, just after midnight, I was praying in my dark living room, and I was telling God that I felt a dark, amorphous evil force coming upon our country, and admitted I was fearful of it.  Suddenly I was struck by the thought that I had long ago promised God that when I became afraid, I would trust in Him, and it was followed by a thought that I should pray that God would use the fears of this time to “inoculate” me against fear, and my fears left as I did so.

I have found over the course of my Christian journey that God is the most practical Person in the universe, and He is not averse to using every and any situation to reveal His will and bring about His plan on the earth.  He will use His children to do it and is just as likely to use anyone else.  If God sent His Son to be butchered for our salvation, He certainly can be trusted to walk with us through these times of fear and confusion.  And when I look at the circumstances that seem to be swirling out of control, and lose my focus, God is totally dependable to remind me of the promise I made to Him in 1979.

I do think we are entering into a very severe time of turmoil in America as we head into November’s election.  But no matter who wins the election, I am positive that unless Almighty God intervenes on behalf of our country, due to the prayers of His people on earth at this time, we cannot survive long.

My recommendation is that if you are afraid, you too, promise God that you will choose to trust Him in the moment

That trusting is very time-specific and is backed up by God’s Word.  I also recommend verse Psalm 91:2, and in fact, all of the psalm.  My wife and I pray Psalm 91 every day as part of our morning devotionals.

I do not know the way, but I absolutely know God does, and He is for us, not against us.  He can be trusted…I know it from experience.

John Miltenberger

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About the Author

John Miltenberger
I became a Christian in 1972 during the Charismatic Renewal.  I  went into a public service career, retiring in 2004 and moving to the mountains of Colorado.  I began writing in earnest in about 2008, when I realized I very much wanted to write about my spiritual experiences in  ways that would help inform, encourage and admonish other believers.  I am most satisfied when I write under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and I trust Him to distribute what I write to the ones He chooses.  I now live back in the mid-West, at the direction of the Holy Spirit, and I believe my life, our lives, should always be forfeit to His will.