Child of God, will you, for a moment, reflect upon the overruling power of God even in the case of the most mighty and wicked of men? They sin grossly, and what they do is done of their own free will, and the responsibility for it lies at their own door. That we never can forget, for the free agency of man is a self-evident truth; but, at the same time, God is omnipotent, and He is still working out His wise designs, as He did of old, in the whirlwind of human wrath, in the tempest of human sin, and even in the dark mines of human ambition and tyranny, all the while displaying His sovereign will among men even as the potter forms the vessels on the wheel according to His own will.
This truth ought to be remembered by us, because it tends to take from us all fear of man. Why shouldst thou, O believer, be afraid of a man that shall die, or the son of man, who is but a worm? Thou art, as a child of God, under divine protection; so, who is he that shall harm thee while thou art a follower of that which is good? Remember that ancient promise, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord" (Isaiah 54:17). The most powerful enemy of the Church can do nothing without God's permission. He can put a bit into the mouth of leviathan, and do with him as He pleaseth. The almighty God is Master and Lord even over the men who imagine that all power is in their hands.
And while this truth should banish our fear of man, it should also ensure our submission to the will of God. Suppose that the Lord allows Nebuchadnezzar to devastate the land that He gave to His people by covenant; it is God who permits it, therefore think not thou so much of the instrument employed by Him as of the hand in which that instrument is held. Art thou afflicted, poor soul, by some hard unkind spirit? Remember that God permits thee to be so tried, and be not angry with that which is only the second cause of thy trouble, but believe that the Lord permits this to happen to thee for thy good, and therefore submit thyself to Him.
This truth ought also to strengthen our faith. When fear goes, faith comes in,. It is an easy matter to trust God when everything goes smoothly; but genuine faith trusts God in a storm.
- excerpt from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon, quoted in Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety by Elyse Fitzpatrick