Once I spent the better part of a night in fear of someone I was certain that was crouching in the corner of my sister’s and my bedroom, only to discover as daylight revealed the figure that it was a world globe that had been moved to the corner of the dresser.
This morning, I awoke to our foster dog, Sadie, barking in a very protective manner. I thought it was strange as she usually whines a little when it’s time to go out. Mike is out of town so I thought I better go check out what she was so afraid of. (ahem, defending our house from.)She was relentless with her bark, so I got up, thinking I would kill a bug or something that she had her eye on. As I let her out, she went straight for the kitchen and while keeping a safe distance, barked at the multi-headed balloon bouquet my daughter had brought in last night and tied to the chair. I got so tickled at her, and it took a good ten minutes (and removing the balloons) before I could coax her to go through the kitchen to go outside.
It struck me how similar Sadie’s and my experiences were. We were both paralyzed with fear and worse, fear of something that was not even a real monster in the night. In the darkness, threats look so much more ominous and even the unreal can create a fear in us that can keep us from sleeping well at the very least, and practically kill us with vain imaginations.
Whom should I fear? In this day of fear in which we all live, where we struggle to trust our own brothers, where we struggle to trust what our country is doing to protect us, where we struggle to love everyone and abhor prejudice, is there legitimate, healthy fear?
It has been my personal experience that fear is ignorance, for the most part, so when fear occurs, I have to ask myself what I do know. I know God is my protector and my sure help. I know that nine-eleven was not God’s idea. Some dreadful people carried out a heinous plan of revenge, not in the name of their god, but in the name of hatred and prejudice.
As Christians, the Bible instruct us over and over “to fear God and God alone” (Joshua 4:24; 24:14; 1 Samuel 12:24, etc.). Apart from the fear of God, we are to live without fear for “greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). This form of fear is more awe and worship, therefore we are not to fear in the sense of being struck dumb and perhaps perceiving the illusions of this world’s trickeries as reality.
With God’s help, in the same spirit as Job, we must take on the attitude of believing in God for all things and focusing on Him who drives out all fear (Perfect love casts out fear.) Then we can become confident we are living not in the illusions of fear, but in the Light and confidence of God alone.