12 Scriptures to Read When Fighting Panic

12 Scriptures for Fighting Panic | Christine M. Chappell | FaithfulSparrow.com

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, “Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you.” –Martyn Lloyd-Jones

For those of us who feel the weight of “fight or flight” reflexes in our gut when panic strikes, preaching to our hearts can seem like a task too great for our abilities in the moment. We find ourselves being tossed and turned over in the waves of unexpected circumstance, wondering if we might ever come up for a breath of fresh air.

While our panic may seem completely legitimate, experiencing it as a chronic hallmark of our response system means there’s some work to be done under the surface—we must begin to recognize what we’re choosing to believe in those moments in order to bring God’s Word to bear on the issue.

Underlying our “everyday panic” (meaning, a panic not caused by extraordinary circumstance or danger) is the emotion of fear. And the foundational element of fear is a distrust in the Lord’s sovereignty over our lives, our circumstances, and our futures. Seeing how the Scriptures reference “fear not” (and similar phrases) an estimated 365 times, there’s the likelihood of a believer to feel condemned because of their ongoing struggle with these types of emotions.

Yet, Charles Spurgeon would argue that the reason the Scriptures are overflowing with comforts and encouragements is not to shame us for feeling fearful, anxious, or worried—but rather because the Lord knew we would feel these things, and knew only he could offer a steady Word to stand upon during those times:

“So great a Savior is provided for our deliverance that we must expect to have great castings down from which we need to be delivered. Why, Believer, what are one half of the promises worth if we are not the subjects of doubts and fears? Why has Jehovah given us so many shalls and wills but because He knew that we should have so many accursed ifs and perhapses? He would never have given us such a well-filled storehouse of comfort if He had not foreseen that we would have a full measure of sorrow.”

Usually when panic sets in, we have a difficult time explaining in words exactly how we are feeling—nevermind being cognizant enough to rationally talk to ourselves, as Lloyd-Jones suggests in the opening quote of this post. This is where taking the Scriptures as our own words comes in to play. How gracious of our Father to give us the very words we need when we can’t seem to put them together on our own! No, friend, you will probably not be able to give yourself a pep-talk with your own wisdom in the midst of panic. But by using these verses, you can stand up—however weary—and say, “Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you.”

In my own personal battle against panic, I have sought the Scriptures for the relief and reorientation of my thoughts. Specifically, there are a collection of 12 Bible verses I return to time and time again when feelings of panic and overwhelm flood my heart like a rushing tidal wave. These verses have encouraged, challenged, and comforted my mind in those moments, and I pray they do for you as well.

  1. Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. {Micah 7:8}
  2. We do not know what do to, but our eyes are on you. {2 Chronicles 20:12}
  3. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. {Psalm 55:18}
  4. Blessed be the LORD, who daily bears us up. God is our salvation. {Psalm 68:11}
  5. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. {Psalm 57:2}
  6. And I will be a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst, {Zechariah 2:5}
  7. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. {Job 11:7}
  8. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. {Job 22:10}
  9. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. {Psalm 6:8}
  10. If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all. {Isaiah 7:9}
  11. O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. {Isaiah 58:9}
  12. For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. {Isaiah 51:3}