I have been mulling over writing this piece on fear since re-reading Michael Crichton’s Eco-terrorism thriller, “State of Fear”. The following quote was the trigger: “…Industrialized nations provide their citizens with unprecedented safety, health, and comfort. Average life spans increased 50% in the last century. Yet modern people live in abject fear. They are afraid of strangers, of disease, of crime, of the environment. They are afraid of the homes they live in, the food they eat, the technology that surrounds them. They are in a particular panic over things they can’t even see – germs, chemicals additives, pollutants. They are timid nervous, fretful and depressed… Everything is going to hell and we must all live in fear.” [ State of Fear pg. 455].
Fear. A familiar human emotion/ response in unfamiliar/uncertain situations. A wide variety of media play upon our propensity to respond in fear. My financial adviser friend tells me that fear and greed are the two things that drive the world’s stock markets. Jim Richards, [Impact ministries], describes fear as “a cancer that eats away at the very root of who you are”. Fear is the domain and stronghold of the darkness. It wreaks havoc with our focus and will undermine our understanding and experience of who we are as children of God.
Reality: There are things to be afraid of. In the movie, “After Earth”, Will Smith’s character tells his son, “Danger is very real. Fear is a choice.” Sometimes fear is evoked not in the presence of the danger itself but by the thought of the possibility of the danger occurring. Bears are common in the Prince George region where I live. I have never encountered a bear in the wild but in a recent visit to some field installations the thought of such an encounter was a source of fear for me.
My musings on fear have led me to several places in the Bible where fear is mentioned. David in the shepherd’s psalm say: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me”. Joshua in an earlier time is encouraged… “be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified… for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. In another reference the writer states: ” God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, thought the earth gives way…” From a contemplation of these and other references I have come to the following conclusion; the antidote for fear is a “state of being” founded on four pillars:
– Embracing the reality that his presence is ever with us and his faithfulness is our shield and sure defense.
– Embracing the reality that nothing can separate us from his love.
– We have not been given a spirit of fear.
Discipline is incremental, built upon one small action/step after another. Experiencing the antidote for fear, that state of being, is also incremental, built on one small choice after another. We don’t have to live out our lives in fear.
What are you afraid of? Leave a comment. Like on Facebook. Pass it on. Thanks for visiting.