Anxiety and fear are part of the cultural air we breathe.

Every day begins with depressing statistics. Unemployment figures are surging. Answers aren’t clear. Solutions seem illusive.

Anxiety and fear were struggles before COVID-19, but now this familiar battle is surfacing in surprising ways. Sometimes we don’t even know why we’re worried.

Worse, we don’t know what to do about it.

How do we win this battle?

One strategy is connected to five promises found in Isaiah 41.

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

These truths are anchored in God’s control:

1. I am with you
2. I am your God
3. I will strengthen you
4. I will help you
5. I will uphold you

Each promise is loaded with meaning and helpful assurance. Prayerfully consider which of these promises you need in light of the avalanche of fear or a low-grade fever of worry in your life.

1) I am with you

We are never alone, never abandoned, never deserted. God is always with us.

Always.

This promise is the reason God’s people are commanded not to fear. The sovereign God, who orchestrates all the events of life, walks with his people through their sorrows.

Satan loves to tempt us into believing that God has abandoned us. Isolation is frightening.

We don’t always know what God is doing. But we can bank our lives and battle our fears with the promise that God is with us.

2) I am your God

Being dismayed means to look around you. It’s when you franticly look for a solution and can’t find one.

The promise “I am your God” reminds us that the most comforting solution to our worries is not looking for a solution, a reason, or a plan. It’s resting in who God is.

Worry and fear run to questions like “Why?” and “What?” and “When?” But the most comforting question is, “Who?” And the answer is God.

God is control.

3) I will strengthen you

The third promise is God’s provision of strength when fearful events and circumstances come our way.

It’s the assurance of divinely provided courage or determination. God promises to give you the internal support that you know is not from you.

For example, at the end of Paul’s life he said:

At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me…but the Lord stood by me and strengthened me (2 Tim. 4:15-17).

Win the battle with fear by believing that God is going to give you the strength that you need.

4) I will help you

The fourth promise is assurance that God is going to work for us.

God works out his plan – a divine action which is always for our good and his glory. Sometimes we can see this immediately. Sometimes it emerges over time. At other times, he’s working on our behalf and we don’t even know it.

But the promise – “I will help you” – is still true.

This is one of the reasons we have historical records of God’s works in the Bible – they remind us that God works for those who wait for him.

5) I will uphold you

This final promise is God’s ability to save his people – not just physically but also spiritually.

“Righteous right hand” refers to God’s power and his might. God promises to hold his people up by the essence of his power as a righteous God.

Underneath the life of every Christian is a foundation of love, care, and righteousness that God uses to sustain and uphold us. Therefore, God’s plan of redemption – to save sinners – is the foundation of our lives and the ultimate back-stop for our worries and fears.

The Apostle Paul made this important statement in Romans 8:

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, who will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:31-32).

In other words, there’s nothing more fearful than the judgment of God without atonement. God upholds us through the sacrifice of Jesus.

For those who trust in Christ, we can see the way Jesus becomes the greatest expression of God’s control over all events. He’s the way we fight our worries and fears.

  • Jesus is alive and with us
  • Jesus is God
  • Jesus strengthens us by his Holy Spirit
  • Jesus helps us
  • Jesus upholds us by his righteousness

Worry and fear are a battle. Sometimes it’s a battle we fight every day – or all day.

One step in winning that battle is rehearsing the five promises of Isaiah 41:10:

1. I am with you
2. I am your God
3. I will strengthen you
4. I will help you
5. I will uphold you

As we do, it reminds us who’s ultimately in control.

(Listen or watch my sermon “Who’s in Control?” or also John Piper’s message on this text which was formative in my thinking and outline).


Mark Vroegop is the Lead Pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis, and the author of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament and Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation (available in August 2020).

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