Can I Have Both Fear And Faith?


It’s OK to sit on the edge of something big in life and feel both fear AND faith. {Image credit: innocent / 123RF Stock Photo}

It’s OK. . . to leave that meeting where the doctor tells you bad news full of fear AND faith.

It’s normal. . . to watch your hard work stall or lose ground and feel anger AND faith.

It’s possible. . . to put everything you’ve got into a relationship, see it dissolve, and live with both depression AND faith.

Because faith isn’t a feeling. It’s something else entirely.

Faith is a choice. It’s a world-view. It’s the foundation your life sits on when the tsunami hits and the earth shakes. Faith is the scaffold that holds us up when our feelings crumble around us.

  • Jerry Sittser, the theology professor who lost his wife, mother and young daughter in a car accident, lives grief AND faith.
  • Joni Eareckson Tada, the prolific writer and encourager who’s spent 4 decades quadriplegic after a simple diving accident, knows anger, despair AND faith.
  • Greg Laurie, the pastor and evangelist who’s extended God’s heart to millions, who lost his 33 year old son to a freeway collision, lives heartache AND faith.

You. . . precious you, who has known loss of some kind—something that challenges your trust, hope, and joy—you’ve lived with both {fear, loss, grief, despair, anger…} AND faith.

And it’s OK to have them both. Even the Psalmist said so.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” – King David in Psalms 23:4

That “I will fear no evil” phrase? It doesn’t mean “I won’t fear.” It means when we’re walking in the deepest darkness in our lives, “I won’t fear… evil,” which in the original language, has the additional nuances of sadness, misery, hurt, or darkness. We don’t have to fear our own big feelings, or feel bad we’re feeling bad in life’s tough seasons, because He is with us.

That we acknowledge this simple truth—He’s with us—shows we are, no matter what feelings arise, living seeds of faith. Right in the middle of our fear or grief or heartache.

And really, if you’re going to be in a tough spot in life, isn’t that the best possible scenario? To have both? To have faith to balance us in the darkest times we face?

What if we decide today to stop feeling bad for feeling bad and simply let ourselves be both scared AND faithful? Hurt AND faithful?

It’s the AND that grows us. It’s the AND that makes faith stronger.

So go ahead, let yourself feel AND have faith today.

“Are you suffering pain that seems unbearable? Do not fear. . . faith and pain are not mutually exclusive. You can have both faith and experience pain.” – Ruth Graham (after divorce from the husband who was unfaithful to her.)


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  1. Mothering From Scratch says

    {Melinda} I needed to hear that, Laurie. I really struggle with fear — and I struggle with thinking that because I fear I don’t have faith. My husband said to me the other day, “I don’t know how someone with as much faith as you have can have so many irrational fears.” Yea, me either. 🙂 But I ask God all the time to help me act and believe in the face of my fear. Love where it says in Matthew, “I believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!”

    • says

      Aw, I don’t know if I agree with your hubby on that one. I think it’s the people with the biggest, boldest faith who have take the risks and get themselves out on raging waters without a thing to stand on but Jesus’ presence. And I love this about you, Melinda. I’ve always loved it. You are so brave in how you face life and your own quirks and foibles. So glad we can hold hands and minister together w/MT!

  2. says

    So true Laurie. I’ve found myself in many faith and . . . situations. The blessing I’ve found is when I allow myself to feel the emotion while keeping my focus on The Lord, my faith grows and the intense emotions ease. Thanks for sharing this important truth.

    • says

      That’s the key, I think. Letting the fear grow the faith instead of wasting our energy fighting the fears. They’re going to come and go, but the faith keeps growing, stretching, strengthening. Glad this post encouraged you!