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Overcoming Fear

Everyone experiences fear to some degree or another. It’s only human. Fear is the alarm or apprehension we experience when confronted with something we think is beyond our ability to handle, that will cause us to be damaged in some way. Charlie Brown in Peanuts was afraid of approaching the little red-haired girl. A friend of mine in grade school was afraid of dogs because he was bitten by one when he was an infant. He didn’t remember the incident, but the fear remained. I’ve said before that I have a fear of extension ladders and suspended foot bridges. The underlying fear is that I will fall off of them, even though that’s not very likely. My fear is that I don’t trust myself on them.

Many fears are unreasonable in that the mind drums up circumstances that are highly unlikely to occur, but cause us to fear doing something. When I was very little I liked to crawl down into the blankets at night so that I was completely covered up. One night I couldn’t find my way back out again. I started yelling and screaming because I unreasonably thought I’d be stuck forever. My parents, both of them, came running into my room, and what did they do? They sat down on both side of me and made the blankets even tighter. I really started screaming then! Dad just pulled back the covers so I could see my way out, and all was right with the world again.

George Burns said that he looked to the future, because that’s where he was going to spend the rest of his life.. That was almost right; we never escape the present in this life even though we keep moving towards it. But like a mirage on hot ground, the future keeps moving away form us. A long time ago there was a children’s song that said tomorrow is yesterday today. I though that maybe that tomorrow was today yesterday, which isn’t quite the same thing. Whatever the future is, many people fear it because it’s an unknown quantity. Like the song says, whatever will be will be, because the future’s not ours to see. And, many people have a fear of the unknown.

No matter how hard we try to structure our lives, there will be unknowns. God created the universe so that a collateral effect of speed and mass is time. Time doesn’t exist in the spirit world, which is why God knows everything from eternity past until eternity future. He doesn’t want us to know the future, and time prevents us from knowing. Aesop wrote a fable about a man who know when death was coming for him, so he fled to another town, which was exactly where death expected to find him.

Unseen events do disrupt our lives. No one anticipated the Covid-19 pandemic. Many peoples’ plans went out the window. Restaurant and bar owners who did not set back a substantial amount of money for assurance against unforeseen disasters are going into bankruptcy or just closing up shop. What’s really scary about the virus is that it’s unseen but has a very real, physical effect on us. And, no one knows who may contract the disease. We can fight an enemy we can see, but we can’t see the virus.

Many people are trying to fight the virus by pretending it isn’t a problem when what they need to do is acknowledge the danger and face it head on. Follow all the guidelines, get tested, and be aware of what the symptoms are. But some people become ill with Covid-19 even when they do everything right. And, that is scary.

God has a lot to tell us about fear in the Bible. It’s confusing to study because many different words in Hebrew and Greek were translated as fear in English. For example, in Exodus 1`5:16, fear means terror; “fear and dread shall fall upon them”. So it means exactly what the English word fear means. But in Joshua 22:44 fear means carefulness, and in Proverb 14:2 it means concern. An underlying principle of God’s ties all the meaning together. Paul explains that fear ultimately means that Christians have not received again the spirit of bondage by fear, but rather “the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5).

Paul was explaining the Christian’s adoption into God’s family is like the Roman law of adoption where the adopted person gained all the rights and privileges of a natural-born member of the family. His or her debts were wiped out, and the person received a new name. The old persona ceased to exist. To every one of us is given the Grace of God according to the measure of Christ (Ephesians 4:6; see 4:1-16).

Eliminating biblical fear then is a Christian’s attitude of not being stubborn and self-righteous in his or her own conceits that a hardness of heart, as happened to Israel until the fullness of the gentiles comes in, does not happen to him or her. The Christian attitude is to cheerfully do God’s will and abide in His presence where fear as we know it doesn’t exist (Romans 8:15; 11:25; 13:7; 2 Corinthians 6:1-7:16). If God is for us, who can be against us? We can’t know our future completely, and even our best plans can and do go out the window sometimes. However, God has a plan for your life, and His plans never fail. So it stands to reason that you should follow God’s plan for your life rather than trying to make your own plans.

So today, right now, just submit to God’s will for your life. In your own words just tell Him, OK God, the world’s in a mess. I don’t know what to do, the doctors don’t know what to do, and obviously Trump has no idea how to cope so he’s reverting to the ostrich syndrome (last week’s blog) of pretending there isn’t a crisis. You know what to do and Your the only one who does, so I’m putting myself in your hands from now on. Please reveal to me Your structure and plans for my life so that I can follow Your will, not mine. If you do that then-no matter how bad things may seem to be getting, everything will work out for the best in the long run. The best time to start is right now.

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