Grief & Loss

How to Beat Fear with Danny Gokey

Doug Bender

February 21, 2020 | 2 minute read

Danny Gokey, American Idol alum and recording artist, shares his journey to defeat fear. Check out his full story.

“Fear has always been one of those things that I’ve constantly had to battle with.”

Life’s biggest challenges don’t just go away with the snap of your fingers. More often than not, they are knock-down-drag-out fights that span years or even decades. Danny opens his story with an admission that his battle with fear and anxiety spreads across the entire length of his life. From childhood into adulthood, he has fought this enemy, sometimes winning and sometimes losing. If his story tells you nothing else, let it remind you that one bad day, or even one good day, doesn’t end the struggle. If you’ve ever known someone with an addiction, they’ll tell you: I’m always an addict. Let this truth give you grace when you fall, and vigilance when you succeed.


“I remember saying to God, ‘Why are we here? Why are we going through this? I thought you could do all things.’”

Danny wept and yelled as he watched his wife die from her congenital heart condition. He trusted God to heal her and bring her back to health. When his prayers were answered with a “No,” he returned to God with questions. In the Bible, another man, David, came to the same place. “Lord, how long must I wait?” he questioned. “Will you forget me forever?” Questions are normal. Doubt and faith can live together in your mind in times of struggle. But don’t let those doubts fester, instead bring them to God. He can take it. In fact, that’s exactly what he’d like. He wants to take them, your doubts and fears, and transform them into new strength. The same poem where David questioned God he also concluded with this: “But I trust in your faithful love.” Maybe you don’t have all the answers, but you do have God’s love. Trust in that and share with him your real doubts.


“Hanging on to things that I didn’t understand, the things that I felt justified in, were the very things that were pulling me down.”

Here’s a hard truth that Danny had to face head-on: God doesn’t always answer why. He has a plan. He will bring you through to the end. But why he lets things happen one way or another along the way is often only for him to know. Danny knew many things about God. He had seen God intervene, heal and do miraculous things for others. (Check out a few of those kinds of real life stories: Whispering Danny, Austin Carlile, and Lynsi Snyder) Though he didn’t have all the answers he wanted from God regarding his own life, he had seen enough of him to still trust God. To hold onto all the "why"s only let bitterness and fear poison his life. He decided to trust what glimpses he had seen of God and trust what he had not yet seen.


“Once I let it go, God reinvigorated my soul. Every time the anger would come back about the 'why,' I would cause myself to let it go. It was like God pulled this cork out of my heart and negative emotions drained through.”

Control and fear travel hand in hand. If you demand control, answers, and your way, you’ll find fear around every bend. Why? Because very little of life can actually be controlled or explained. When you realize you can’t control what happens in your life, you will either be swallowed by fear that all will go wrong, or find peace by trusting the one who does have all the control. He isn’t our genie in a bottle and he won’t say yes to every prayer. But he does grant us one, giant, never-failing, promise: love. He loves you, cares for you, and has great plans ahead for you. If you can just let go of whatever fear you are gripping, he has new horizons to show you.

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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