# 5 (and last) in series
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” With these words President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to calm a nation in panic, after a “run” on the nation’s banks during the time of the Depression. Fear can quickly take a life of its own–one fear produces another, and another, and another, until in extreme cases an individual is so consumed and seized by fear that any sense of “normalcy” in life ceases to exist.
Of all the emotions that have arisen since September 11, 2001, fear has been the most common. The fear that has thrived in our country over the past two months is fed by daily news reports of a new development on the “anthrax front” or a new threat breathed against the hated, arrogant Americans. If we “feed” upon and dwell upon every sense of danger and every bit of “bad news,” then fear is feeding upon fear, and we too might become seized with fear.
Consider an example: If we were to spend all day looking at pictures of car accidents and reviewing statistics of how many die on our state highways each year–not just any highways, but Minnesota highways–then getting in the car to go out for dinner that evening might be just a bit more difficult. If we feed on fear we will live in fear.
One evening several weeks ago cars lined up for blocks in Mankato and in the Twin Cities in order to get “cheap” gas because the rumor of fear was that we’d be paying multiple dollars for each gallon of gas by the next morning. There was absolutely no reason for the gas prices to be raised, no truth to the rumor, and no basis for the fear–none! (Actually, the prices went down.) Hundreds of people were fearing fear itself and were pulled into that fear by a falsehood.
If falsehood so easily breeds fear, a vaccine for fear is truth. If fear is brought upon us by uncertainty and questions for the future, the antidote is trust. The place to which we turn for truth and for trust is to the Word and promises of God.
There are many passages in Scripture filled with the reassurance of God’s power to help and protect. There are many passages filled with God’s promises to always be near us and to help us by His grace in accordance with His will. There are many passages which are able to instill and strengthen trust. In other words, there are many passages to chase away FEAR. There are so many passages to chase away fear because God knows us and knows how many things there are to cause fear within us.
“Thus says the LORD who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned'” (Isaiah 43:1-2).
The God who has formed and created you together with all the universe is the same God who uses the same power and wisdom to guide the Earth and promises to protect you. The God who so loved you and the whole world so that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross to redeem you from your sin is the same God who out of the same love promises to be with you always (Matthew 28:20). It is impossible for your Creator/Redeemer to forget you. He knows you by name! You are His! He knows you, He knows your fears, and He offers to help you conquer those fears and to live a confident life of trust in Him!
There is very much in this wicked world over which we might be afraid. God does not want us to adopt a cavalier attitude that scoffs at danger and does not take proper heed to precautions and safety measures. To do so would be tempting God (cf: Luke 4:9-12) and a sin. However, neither does God want us to live in fear and uncertainty, but rather to put our trust in Him–not just in regard to terroristic attacks, but in everything!
Our goal is certain. It is eternal life with Christ Jesus which He won for us through His life, death, and resurrection. We have that goal as a gift from the love of God. Nothing can separate us from that gift. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
The gift from God, our goal, is certain. The only things that remain uncertain are what we will face in this life as we make our way heavenward. Yet even in the face of this kind of uncertainty for the future, we need not fear because God’s promise is clear: “The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul; the Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth and even forevermore” (Psalm 121:7-8).
–Pastor Wayne Eichstadt