Where does fear come from? Fear is really a crisis of faith. The spirit of fear does not come from God. It either comes with our own uncertainty in dealing with circumstances beyond our control. Or fear comes from our musings about the potential ‘what if’ happenings. For example, some people are afraid of what is going to happen if Donald Trump is elected. Some people are afraid of what may happen to the Supreme Court if Hillary Clinton is elected. The enemy tries to supplant any security we may find in the way of the Creator and wants us to wallow in our difficulties.
Fear is an uncomfortable disconcerting emotional response. It is a red light on the dash board of our soul-spirit warning of potential danger. Fear in and of itself is not a bad thing. It can be crippling though if we do not have a healthy way of managing it.
There is the fear which comes from the immediate surprise of some kind of danger. You are driving down the road and while you were texting you missed the bridge out sign. You look up in time to smash through the first set of barriers. You hit the brakes just in time as the front wheels of your car dangle over the precipice of certain death if you went a foot farther. Your heart is in your throat beating so fast you feel it is going to explode. Your mind races a thousand thoughts. Your whole life flashed before your eyes. And yet you are still alive. That was a close call, but you made it. You vow never to text and drive again. This is a temporary short-lived kind of fear.
There is the fear of the unknown. You get a letter from the IRS stating you are going to be audited on your income taxes. You are called off the factory floor to the boss’s office. You really want to be friends with somebody, but you are not sure they will accept you. You are put into a circumstance outside of your comfort zone and not of your own making. You are traveling down an uncharted path. This fear unaddressed can have you sticking your head in the sand. You may not want to face it. You may try to figure out a way to avoid it. You may procrastinate until you are forced by powers greater than yourself and are dragged against your will to face this demon made big in your psyche.
There is the fear of being found out. Like Adam covering his sin with fig leaves, you have secrets which you hope belong only to you. If anybody knew the real you, they would not accept you. There is the façade people see and then there is the reality of who you really are. Consumed with guilt, fear chews on you like a dog on a bone.
There is the fear of failure: Failure at school, at the job, in the big game, at home, oh how many ways can a person fail. The fear of failure precludes even making the attempt for some to succeed. If you do not try, then you cannot fail. Paralyzed with the potential of failure, the “Little Engine That Could” never leaves the depot. Because you never think you think you can, you never get to the place you know you can.
There is the fear of?????? You fill in the blank! _____________.
So then, what are we who claim Christ going to do about our fears many and varied?
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (Psalm 56:3).
How about “Casting all your care upon him; fore he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).
Why not “Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).
God has given Himself as the antidote for negative fear. Yet until we positively fear God, we will not have the capacity to believe God is big enough to see us through.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10).
This is the right kind of fear to have and to cultivate: a fear which causes us to reverence our God, a fear which bows our knees and causes our voices to worship and to praise Him, a fear which drives us to be holy for without holiness no man shall see the Lord. This fear of God is our courage and strength in times of trial and adversity. He is our shield, our fortress, and our rock. King David said it this way.
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear: the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid.” (Psalm 27:1).
So then, what are we afraid of? Can we name it? Once we have named it, are we willing to give it up to God? We can worry, fret, have an anxiety attack, take Prozac, or we could pray with faith, praise and thanksgiving to the One who is bigger than anything we have faced, are facing, or will ever face.
Peace, Brother; peace, Sister; blessed peace found in the all-encompassing arms of the Almighty who will never let his child go. “Abba, Father God, to thee we run. Like a child afraid of the night, we run towards your light. And when we come, you show us the corners, you open the closet doors, and you help us to look under the bed of our circumstance. You shine your light upon the darkness and then we know there is no need to be afraid.”
Because of the Love of Christ,
Pastor John Schofield