Revive Our Hearts Radio

Why Are You So Afraid?

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss asks which is bigger: your storm or your God?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I don’t know what your storm is today. I don’t know what your financial difficulty is. You’re in the process of moving. You’re dealing with a child for whom no textbook was ever written. I don’t know what your storm is, but I know that Jesus knows; God knows. And He says to our hearts, “Why are you so afraid? Where’s your faith?” Well, my faith isn’t very big sometimes, but I’ll tell you what, my God is always very big!

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, June 25, 2015.

Nancy: We’re talking about how to have a quiet heart, and a lady came up on a break just a little bit ago and said, “This is exactly what I need today. My house is half packed, in boxes, and we’re getting ready to move.” If you’ve ever made a move, you know that’s when you need a quiet heart. In every circumstance and season of life, we’re tempted to get disquieted, to have our hearts be in turmoil.

But we’re looking at a passage that says we can choose, in the midst of storms, to have a quiet heart: Psalm 131. I hope you’ve been reading it, memorizing it, meditating on it, and making it a part of your life. The Psalmist says,

Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever (KJV) .

I’ve always loved reading biographies of Christians from the past. One of the reasons is that, when you read about their struggles and how they trusted God in the midst of storms, it gives courage to your own heart, and you think, “Boy, God came through for them; I know that God will come through for me.”

I’ve been reading a book for the last several months. I’m holding it in my hand, and our radio listeners can’t see it, but it is a humongous book. It’s 750 pages, I think, or close to it, tiny print. This is a recently republished autobiography of George Mueller, who was the founder of the orphanages in England where at one point they were feeding more than 2,000 orphans every day: feeding, clothing, educating.

George Mueller felt that, in his case, God didn’t want him to tell anyone what the needs of the ministry were, what it cost to support those orphans, because he wanted his life in those orphanages to be a demonstration to the world of God’s greatness and God’s faithfulness and God’s power.

I want to read to you some excerpts that have been a blessing to me as I’ve been reading through this book and just let you hear illustration after illustration of how, in times of storm, God enabled this man to have a quiet heart.

I have not one penny in hand for the Orphans. In a day or two again many pounds will be needed. My eyes are up to the Lord.

Today I was again penniless. But my eyes were up to the Lord.

The Lord in His wisdom and love has not yet sent help. Whence it is to come, need not be my care. But I believe God will, in due time, send help.

We had never been lower in means than yesterday and today. Yet my soul, thanks to the Lord! was also yesterday and today in perfect peace. [This is a man with a quiet heart! He says,] My heart is not troubled. I am sure that in the best time and way, God will send help.

During the last two days there came in only about the twentieth part as much as had been expended. [Our expenses were twenty times more than what came in.] When I thought of the greatness of the outgoings, and the smallness of the amount which had come in, I remembered the words in Isaiah 26:4, “Trust ye in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” And my heart responded: “In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength, and in Him I will trust.” A few minutes after, I received a letter from Canada, [thousands of miles away] containing a Bank Order for 81 lbs 9 shillings. [So God sent what was needed as he put his trust in the Lord.]

While I am writing this, the income during the last five days has been so small, that it would not cover the fifth part of the expenses of these five days; but I am expecting again much larger sums. [Here’s a man who always kept expecting God to do whatever was needed.]

It is unspeakably blessed, really to know God, to walk in friendship with Him, to be able to speak to Him about everything, and to roll upon Him all one’s cares and burdens. In this blessed, happy way, I have now been enabled to walk for forty-four years, and I cannot describe the joy connected with this life of holy, blessed independence of circumstances, political events, financial difficulties, friends, death, etc.; for as long as we are able to lean upon God, we have all we can possibly need.

God has not failed me at any time.

Let me just insert here, I would write that in my own journal, in my own autobiography. I look back now over fifty-some years of walking with the Lord, more than twenty-five years in vocational Christian service, several years of Revive Our Hearts ministry; I look back and I say, “God has not failed me at any time.”

George Mueller goes on to say in that entry in his journal,

Forty years have I proved His faithfulness, in this work. I have no anxieties and no cares at all.

Now, I read that, and that is amazing to me—for a man who’s caring for and feeding 2,100 orphans (I think it was, at one point) to say, “I have no anxiety and no cares at all.” Well, it’s not that he didn’t have anxieties and cares around him; it’s that he never let them lodge in his heart. He never let them become his anxieties or his cares.

Faith in God leads me to roll all my burden upon Him; for hundreds are my necessities, besides those connected with money. In every way I find God to be my helper, even as I trust in Him, and pray to Him in childlike simplicity, about everything.

And he really did. As you read through these 700 pages in this journal, page after page after page he’s saying, “We had this need, so we prayed about it. We had this need, so we prayed about it. We had this need, so we prayed about it.” He prayed about everything.

Then he says,

Be encouraged, dear fellow-believer, to go this blessed way yourself and you will see what peace and joy it affords.

[Well, just one more entry from his journal.] What was now to be done, dear reader, under these circumstances, when all the money for the above Objects was again gone?” [There were parts of the ministry for which they had no financial support. What was to be done?] I reply, we did what we have done for forty-seven years, that is, we waited continually upon God. Under every trial and every difficulty, we find prayer and faith to be our universal remedy.

It was true for George Mueller 150+ years ago. It is true for you and me today. Wait continually on God. Under every trial and every difficulty, faith and prayer is the universal remedy.

Well, George Mueller experienced that. David experienced it; we’re reading about his experience in the psalms. Jesus experienced that when He was on earth.

As I was preparing for this series, I thought about that passage in Mark 4 when Jesus said to His disciples, “Let’s get in a boat and go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.” They left the crowd. They got in the boat.

In verses 37–38 it says, “A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.” Now, how did Jesus sleep through that storm? And why did He sleep through that storm? I think it’s because Jesus knew Psalm 107. He knew that God was in charge. Psalm 107:25 says, “He [God] commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea.”

God is the one who makes those waves rise and makes the storm. But He’s also the one, verse 29, and Jesus knew this, who said, “He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.” God raises up the storm; God calms the storm. Jesus knew that, and that’s why He could have a quiet heart.

The disciples, on the other hand, did not have a quiet heart. Mark 4:38 says, “And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’” Jesus is there asleep, pillowing His head, resting. He’s got a quiet heart because He knows God’s in charge. The disciples are disquieted. They’re alarmed. They’re anxious. They’re agitated. And they think God doesn’t care that they’re perishing.

Well, verses 39–40 say, “He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’”

I don’t know what your storm is today. I don’t know what your financial difficulty is. You’re in the process of moving. You’re dealing with a child for whom no textbook was ever written. You’re dealing with the ups and downs of maybe the stock market or a husband’s employment situation or your employment situation.

I don’t know what the burden is. You may have just buried someone that you love very dearly, or you may be living through the last days of someone that you love dearly. I don’t know what your storm is, but I know that Jesus knows. God knows, and He says to our hearts, “Why are you so afraid? Where’s your faith?”

Well, my faith isn’t very big sometimes, but I’ll tell you what, my God is always very big! He is George Mueller’s God; He is David’s God; He was Jesus’ God; He is my God, and He is your God.

Pandita Ramabai was a 19th century Indian woman who rescued unwanted, abused children and gave them homes. She said, “The life committed to God has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, and nothing to regret.”

So let me read this psalm again, which in one translation is titled “Simple Trust in the Lord.” That’s the bottom line. That’s how you get a quiet heart.

The Psalmist says,

Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty. [That’s a humble heart. Then there’s a simple heart:] Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. [Then, verse two, the quiet heart:] Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. [And then verse three—we’ll come to that in just a few moments—the trusting heart:] Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever (Psalm 131 KJV).

I shared earlier in this series that I’d read a booklet by David Powlison on stress, which is really an exposition of Psalm 131. In that little booklet, which has been such an encouragement to me, Dr. Powlison rewrites this psalm in the opposite way. If we don’t have a quiet heart, here’s the way this psalm might read. Instead of addressing the Lord, we say, “Self.” We’re self-focused instead of Lord-focused.

Self,
My heart is proud,
And my eyes are haughty (I look down on other people),
And I chase after things too great and too difficult for me.
So of course I’m noisy and restless inside;
It comes naturally,
Like a hungry infant fussing on his mother’s lap,
Like a hungry infant, I’m restless with my demands and worries.
I scatter my hopes onto anything and everything all the time.

That’s the opposite of Psalm 131, according to Dr. David Powlison. That was helpful to me, to see that if I’m not living according to Psalm 131, behaving and quieting my heart and trusting in the Lord, then I’m going to have a proud heart. I’m going to be chasing after things that are more than I can comprehend. My heart will be noisy and restless inside. I’ll be fussy with demands and worries. And I’ll be scattering my hopes onto anything and everything all the time rather than trusting in the Lord.

It reminds me of that passage in Isaiah 57:20–21 where the Scripture says, “The wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked’” (ESV). That’s what some of our hearts are like, isn’t it? Churning in turmoil, tossing, cannot be quiet, and tossing up mire and dirt. No peace because our hearts are not pure and quiet before the Lord.

We come to verse 3, which is the bottom line of this whole psalm. “Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.” This is the trusting heart. And you’ll notice that this verse is addressed to the people of God, Israel. Let Israel hope in the Lord.

But it’s not just for Israel. It’s for me. I need to put my name in that verse. Let Nancy hope in the Lord from now and forever. You put your name there. You hope in the Lord from now and forever. I see in this verse both an invitation and a command. I’m invited; I’m encouraged to hope in the Lord. It’s an invitation. But it’s also a directive. Hope in the Lord. Don’t hope in anything else. Hope in Him.

So we say, “What’s the way to get this quiet heart?” The way to get it is to hope in the Lord, to put your confidence in Him, to lean on Him. I can’t just say to myself, “I’m not going to fret anymore.” Wouldn’t that be great? You know, “I’m just never going to be an anxious, hyperventilating, uptight person anymore.”

You can’t just say that and then expect never to fret again. We have to get rid of our inclination, our proclivity to fretting, by putting another inclination in its place. Trusting in God is what displaces fretting.

So rather than saying, “I’m not going to be anxious; I’m not going to fret; I’m not going to have all these disturbing thoughts in my mind,” and now you’re just working yourself up into more of a dither—instead, change your focus. Trust in God. Confidence in God will replace confidence in your circumstances and other people to satisfy you.

So, hope in the Lord versus whatever else you’re looking to or hoping in to satisfy you. What are you looking to to make you happy, to make you quiet? Put away those things. Put away your confidence in those things, and hope in the Lord. That word hope is an active word. We kind of use it in a more passive sense. You know, “I hope the weather will change soon,” or “I hope my kids will grow up soon.”

But this word in the Hebrew language is an active word. It means “to wait, to be patient, to tarry, to stay on something, to trust in something.” It’s “actively hoping, leaning, resting, waiting.”

I’m thinking of that old hymn, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” placing your confidence in Him. I said to someone I was talking to the other day, “The government of the world is on His shoulders.” That comes from the book of Isaiah. Do you think if God’s shoulders are big enough to carry the government of the whole world, that His shoulders are big enough to carry your concerns, your burdens? Hope in the Lord. Cast your burden on Him.

A woman said to me the other day as we were speaking and she was pouring her heart out about some of the anxious thoughts within her, some of the circumstances that she’s up against, “How do I get rid of the anxiety? I’m angry. I’m discouraged. I’m anxious. I know I am.” I could see it in her face. I could see it in her tears. I could hear it in her voice. She said, “How do I get rid of that?”

I said, “Hope in the Lord.”

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on [Jehovah]” (ESV). Hope in the Lord. That’s what Philippians 4 says: Think about things that are pure and lovely and good and true, and the peace of God will guard your hearts and your minds, keep you at rest and quiet in Christ Jesus (verse 8, paraphrased).

What you have to do is get your eyes off of the problems and onto the Lord. I said to this woman, “Go to Psalm 131.” I’ve been telling a lot of people that recently, and I’m telling you that. I don’t know what your circumstances are. Go to Psalm 131. Memorize it. Meditate on it. Keep quoting it back to the Lord.

And not just this passage, but other passages. Sing them to the Lord. Sing hymns. Sing psalms. Sing spiritual songs. These things help me when my own heart is heavy. And watch yourself about what you’re leaning on, what you’re looking to to meet your needs.

Charles Spurgeon said about this passage, “Remember that where your treasure is your heart will go—and if that treasure is taken away, your heart must ache,” if you’re leaning on or depending on things other than the Lord. He said, “The man who depends alone upon his God and whose expectation is from Him, has not half the occasions for trouble that he has who is leaning here and leaning there, and leaning in fifty places! For each earthly prop will be the cause or occasion of distress at some time or other.”

You say, “What are earthly props?”

  • It may be your husband you’re looking to to satisfy your needs.
  • It may be your child.
  • It may be your job.
  • It may be shopping.
  • It may be food.
  • It may be friends.

Whatever you’re leaning on, whatever you’re looking to to meet the deepest needs of your heart, will be the cause or the occasion of distress at some time or other—unless you’re leaning on the Lord. He will never fail you. He will never distress you. He will never let you down.

We’ve been looking at Psalm 131, and I want us to look back to the previous psalm. These are actually kind of twin psalms. We’ll close by looking at Psalm 130, which just expands on hoping in the Lord. You fulfill Psalm 131:3, hoping in the Lord, by living out Psalm 130.


Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord ;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.

If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

That’s the picture of the night watchman who’s on the middle of the night shift, and he’s just propping his eyes open, trying to stay awake until the end of that shift. He’s watching for the first gray of dawn. Or like the mom in the middle of the night with a crying baby. She’s just waiting for morning to come, watching for the morning. That’s how my soul waits for the Lord.

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is mercy,
and with Him is abundant redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities (NKJV).

Leslie: Are you eagerly, desperately leaning on the Lord? Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing you what that kind of dependent life looks like. Her message is part of the series How to Have a Quiet Heart.

As a follow up to this series, we want to send you Nancy’s book, The Quiet Place. It’s a daily devotional, with entries for a full year. So each day, you’ll read a thought from Nancy and ponder a passage of Scripture. It’s a daily reminder to set your mind on the truth of God’s Word and to let your heart be at peace.

When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size, we’d like to send you the book, The Quiet Place. The reason we’re able to come to you each weekday with this kind of Bible teaching for women is because listeners support the ministry. Your gift will help us continue calling women’s hearts to genuine peace. Ask for The Quiet Place when you call 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

When you spend time with God in prayer and in His Word, it's kind of like storing up a reserve of supplies in a crisis. Find out why, tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts. Here's Nancy to close our time in prayer.

Nancy: O Lord, thank You that You can be trusted. Thank You that You will never fail us. The arm of flesh will always fail us. Anything, anyone that we look to other than You will let us down. But, Lord, You are faithful. You can be depended upon. All that we need, Lord. You are bread and water and life and breath, and everything we need is in You. So, Lord, help us to hope in You, to wait on You, to lean on You, to look to You, to rely on You, this day and every day. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.

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