Fear can absolutely extinguish the joy in life. It can make the healthiest person sick to their stomach. It can paralyze our ability to think clearly. Fear can drive us to do foolish things we wouldn’t otherwise do. And fear promotes doubt and discouragement.
Today, many people focus on their fears instead of the rich promises of God. We fear financial ruin because of recession. We fear the loss of our jobs because of a declining economy and devaluation of U.S. currency. As I write this, the whole nation and world is fearful of the coronavirus and its global impact.
Some fear nuclear war with countries like Iran, North Korea, or terrorist groups. Both conservatives and so-called progressives fear each other. And many of us fear what will happen to America due to the decline of the moral and social values we once cherished.
Fear is nearly always based on conjecture. Fear is letting negative imaginations run rampant. Fear is an inordinate response to what might happen. This is one reason fear is so dangerous. When we allow fear to dictate our thoughts and actions, the hypothetical runs our lives.
Often, if we stop and logically consider what we really know, we can halt fear in its tracks. But sometimes, there seems to be strong evidence that our fears will be realized. This may come in the form of a doctor’s prognosis, past experiences, or the common cry of the media and people around us.
But whatever the “evidence,” we must find certainty in God. After leaving Egypt, the Children of Israel were in the wilderness. They feared for their lives: “How will we find water? Where will we find food for this great company of people? What will we do if enemies attack us along the way?”
The “evidence” at hand led them to doubt, discouragement, and fear. And their fear led them to sin through their grumbling, complaining, and even rebellion. But in every single case, they had failed to take one crucial, game-changing factor into account: Almighty God of the Universe was present with them and would provide for them and protect them.
Standing with their little ones, their backs against the Red Sea and the mighty Egyptian army bearing down on them, Moses encouraged them: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13–14)
Scripture Reading: Exodus 14:10–31
What are you fearing right now? On what are those fears based? What happens to your fear when you consider God’s presence, protection and care for you?
Meditate on Isaiah 41:10.
Jim Grassi, D. Min.