Fear is a powerful motivator – it can stir us to great heroism and quick reaction in crisis. It can also immobilize us or drag us into the miry pit of worry. Fear in sensible doses is healthy. But often, we hold on not to “good” fear but to bad. We fear what we think “might” happen, things we have no control over. Or we fear the hardships we face.
What does God have to say about our fear? Repeatedly, he says, “Do not fear” (or at least, some variation of it):
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, ~ 1 Peter 3:13-15
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. ~ Revelation 2:10
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10
If it were only up to us, we would have good reason to fear. But when God tells us not to fear, it’s because He has already given us what we needed: Himself. Our God meets us in the very places we feel most broken and vulnerable. Just as a mother holds her child in the darkness of night to reassure him she is near, so our God is always ready to hear his children and hold us close. Perhaps we should not ask “Am I afraid?” Rather, we may ask, “Who do I run to with my fears?”
Fear is vanquished as we enter the presence of God.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you. ~ Psalm 56:3