Tag Archives: fear



By Carolyn Dale Newell

Snakes and skunks scare me, but I never feared bears until we started spending so much time in the Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg. Bears are a common occurrence there. They remain harmless unless they smell food. Unless you are a dog. How would a bear react to iva? I did not want to find out.

During our three -day writing retreat and solo vacation, my fear was meeting a bear.

When we overslept one morning, I accredited the late wake-up call to God. He was keeping us away from the early morning bear. One had been spotted outside the night before.

We bounded down the hallway and out the door. Iva was her usual stubborn self, being particular about her potty spot. I heard someone on the hotel balcony behind me, but when I glanced back, they never said anything. A second “Psss…!”, but silence followed.

Then I heard, “Hey, lady”

I responded with a yes.

“There’s a bear!”

I shrieked, jumping from fear. The bear growled as Iva and I made it to the hotel door.

Another man asked if I saw the bear. “No, I’m blind!” I responded as we entered the safety of the hotel.

I stood there momentarily listening to what happened next. The balcony whisperers were shocked when the other man told them I was blind. They must have been trying to motion to me when they made noises, but I could not see them.

As I pulled out my phone to call my husband, a Bible verse popped up.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 NKJV

God kept us safe. My scream may have frightened the bear or perhaps God had sent an army of angels to surround us with swords drawn as in the incident with Elisha (2 Kings 6:15-17).

I felt rattled most of the day, but I had to take Iva out again. This time, I met a couple who had watched the entire incident from their fifth-floor balcony. Their love for black labs drew their attention to us several days earlier. They offered to walk with me, and so did a member of the hotel management team.

I spotted God’s fingerprints all over this frightening experience. This couple did not live far from our home. They were in Gatlinburg for the same Christian event we were there to attend. More similarities unraveled as we talked throughout the week.

Everyone seemed relieved when my husband arrived in town. Would that end our solo vacations for Iva and me? I called a few hotels downtown, but they could not offer me the beautiful mountain view. Then I heard reports about bears downtown. They are everywhere, but Iva and I are scheduled for three more weeks in our favorite spot next year. Part of that time we will be on our own again. I trust God, and He showed me He was all over this. I am carrying a whistle next year, just to warn the bear that Iva and I are accompanied by an army of angels.

Friend, we should avoid unnecessary risks, but we cannot journey through life in fear of what may happen. Be cautious, but be confident because God is in control.

Copyright 2017 Carolyn Dale Newell.




By Carolyn Dale Newell

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 NKJV

Has your mind ever told you to trust God and pray for His will? All the while, your heart was afraid of what His will included. Do we fear God’s will because we assume it is different than what we want? That was how I felt. Could we learn to completely trust God and His will? I trust God more now than I did eighteen years ago.

When Timmy, my husband, had leukemia, fear gripped my heart, and I was afraid God would allow him to die. Many people lose their spouses. Good people with good spouses, Not just unbelievers, and not just bad people. Why would I be any different? I clung to Romans 8:28.

Even if Timmy died, it would bring God glory. God would work it out for good. Everything in a Christian’s life is controlled by our sovereign God who loves us. Take a moment and let that soak in. Comforting, isn’t it? God controls our uncontrollable. God would take care of me. That was my pep talk. I tried to believe those difficult truths. I knew they were biblical, but in spite of that, I feared becoming a young widow. Feared losing the love of my life. Feared our time together would be shortened. Feared life alone with no one to care for me. No one to love me. Just plain scared of losing him.

I was still a baby Christian, still unaware of God’s great love and mercy. Do we ever completely fathom God’s love? I was learning to trust Him, but not fully walking in faith.

Apart from a miracle, things seemed hopeless. Like the pit, Joseph’s brothers threw him in (Gen. 37:18-34), we were at the bottom with no way out. Joseph lost his precious coat of many colors. I was losing my husband. Timmy was losing his life. Joseph lacked water to drink, and we lacked a cure. No earthly person could help Joseph. His brothers certainly would not have a change of heart and pull him out. We felt that same hopelessness. God is still the God of miracles. He providentially sent Ishmaelites by and pricked the hearts of Joseph’s brothers to sell him rather than allow him to die. God needed Joseph in Egypt, so He redirected his path.

We were released from our pit when a friend called one night. She watched a news story about an experimental drug labeled STI-571. CML patients were going into remission with this drug, later named Gleevec. We had hope again. God released us from our pit of despair. Hope in God when things are hopeless.

Friend, you may be in that same pit today. Remember Joseph. Remember our story. When man cannot, God can.

Timmy began the drug, and within weeks, he hit his first remission. There are actually three stages of remissions, and within two years there was barely a trace of CML found in his blood. It is 2017, and Timmy is still alive and healthy.

Doubt filled our minds many times through those years, but God remained faithful. Our doubts came and went like the waves of the sea, ebbing to and fro on the shore. Through it all, we learned to trust God.

You may struggle with doubt today. Trust God with all you have, and when doubt arises, ask God to help you trust Him more.

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. Forgive us for doubting Your will and Your plans. Strengthen our faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Read Mark 9:23-24.


Drawing closer to God increases our faith, along with traversing many storms.

This is from Faith, Freedom & Four Paws: Trusting God in a World of Doubt, my current book in progress.

Copyright 2017 Carolyn Dale Newell.