Whom Shall I Fear?
There is a lot of fear flowing in our culture. In the next four weeks, as we approach our national elections, fear of what will happen if the other side wins will drive a lot of the political ads that will be all around us. October is Halloween month, and many people delight in decorating their lawns with all kinds of scary stuff. People visit organized haunted houses for a scary good time. (I guess)
Fear has driven a lot of our response to COVID-19. I hope by now most of us have gotten beyond seeing the virus as an automatic death sentence. (Whatever your politics, please pray for recovery and health for President and Mrs. Trump and all our leaders who have recently contracted it.) Average, everyday people in our cities have been gripped with fear in the face of protests that somehow turned into riots. The west coast is raging with wild fires.
Add to these national events our personal, everyday fears. Perhaps you or a loved one has recently received a cancer diagnosis and fear grips your heart. Maybe you lost your job when the pandemic shutdown happened in March, and you fear for your financial future.
Some of us find our hearts gripped with spiritual fears. We might be afraid God has rejected us and is punishing us. Many people carry around a deep fear of being rejected if others found out our deepest secrets, or if they knew what really goes on inside us.
Scripture says we do not have to be afraid. Here are just three verses giving assurance in the face of fear:
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)
The LORD is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 NIV)
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 NIV)
It seems to me the common theme of these three verses (and many other references to fear in the Bible) is this: The opposite of fear is not bravery. The opposite of fear is trust in the Person who protects us.
God does not meet our fears with "Buck up, Bucko. Be brave!" His response to our fears is "You do not have be afraid. Trust Me. I am with you."
The fact is, storms will come for every one of us. Hard things will happen. Things that threaten us. There are things we legitimately fear if we face them alone. How will we respond to such things?
In the face of the fear of being robbed or killed by an intruder, some people have built a panic room in their house. A panic room is a fortified place where an intruder has pretty much zero chance of breaking in and getting to the person inside. It is a place of safety from attack.
People in the Bible who have trusted God agree with David in Psalm 27: The LORD is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? Essentially, David is saying, "God is my panic room." With the Apostle Paul, we can say, If God is for us, who can be against us?
Do you find fear creeping up in your heart over things going on in your life or things going on in our nation? Bring it to Jesus. Go deep into your relationship with Him. Hold on to His hand. His Presence is your panic room. It is a place of shelter and safety. His perfect love casts out fear.
Hard things will still happen. But Jesus never fails.