I’ve done a lot of thinking over the last 48 hours about fear.
I confess yesterday as I drove home from work I saw an old man walking along the busy road.
He was sweating.
He looked confused.
I didn’t stop.
I’ve thought about his face over and over again since. I was too fearful to pick him up, an old man. I didn’t even stop to ask questions. All night I wondered about his family. Do they know where he is? Is he still out there? Did he sleep last night? What if this was my dad and no one gave him a second look?
I can already hear some of your thoughts. “Never pick up a stranger! God gave you a brain for a reason!”
I am sad that evil exists in the world. I am sad that we are fearful of it.
Fear controls us. It motivates our decisions. It can immobilize us. It can tempt us to become hermits. It can prohibit us from making beautiful relationships with people who look differently from us or who believe differently from us. It can convince us that a lie to protect feelings or our own ego is more important than the truth.
Christ also gave us an example of how we should act in the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Yesterday, I was the Pharisee who kept driving. Yesterday, rather than boldly obeying the will of God and trying to help my fellow man, I was afraid, and I went to eat an enchilada instead. I’m ashamed.
We should all be wary of strangers especially for our children’s sake. But…
This is the world in which we live. It is a broken world and sometimes a scary place, but it is also a beautiful place full of wonderful people.
This is our home for now.
If we let it, fear will extinguish our joy and rob us of freedoms.
I suggest that fear may be keeping us from obeying the will of God, from loving the unlovable, from boldly standing out in a crowd to speak sense and love into the darkness.
I suggest that our political choices may be motivated by fear.
I suggest that the media we consume is exploiting our fear.
I suggest that Satan is using fear to control us all.
I’m not suggesting that we be unwise.
I suggest that God is bigger than the powers of this world and almost as much as He told us to love one another, he also said to not fear.
I suggest that we be boldly obedient to stand firm to love others regardless of being loved in return, that we bravely exist and experience joy in this often dark world, and that we be willing to do what is right despite our fear.
From now on instead of wishing others to “be safe”. Perhaps I shall say “Be wise. Be bold. Be brave.”
Be wise. Be bold. Be brave.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. -1 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. -Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
Take a sip of coffee and think on this…
The phrase “do not fear” is found in scripture (depending on version) more than 50 times. This is a message that God wants written on our hearts. With every step you take, God is saying “Do not be afraid. I’ve got this. I’ve got you.” Are we listening? Or are we resting in the facade of control and comfort of fear?
- What fear situations do you have in your life right now?
- How is fear controlling you in this situation? Are you actively disobeying God due to this fear?
- Make steps in a bold and brave direction. What are some ways you can start being bold and brave and resting in the promise of God’s protection and provision?
Read these love-promises and be wise. Be bold. Be brave.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. -1 John 4:18 (NIV)
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. -Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? -Psalm 118:6 (NIV)