I faced an emotion in the past week that I had not had to deal with in quite a while, that was ‘fear.’ According to the dictionary, Fear is a noun and is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined, the feeling or condition of being afraid. Then I went to the Bible, the phrase ‘fear not’ is used 170 times. I looked up every scripture that said it and most of them end with “for I am with you.”
As a little girl I was never afraid of anything if my dad was around, he was the strongest man in the world. When we lived in Lockhart, SC, our parsonage was a small mill house, it was a blessing that the foreman of the mill was given a nicer house, which meant that the local preacher got the foreman’s house. It was several houses and up a steep hill from where we lived, and it was up to my parents to move all of our belongings to the new house. I watched my dad carry a huge refrigerator up that steep hill on his back! Since there was no one to help him lift it he tied a rope around it, ran the rope around his own waist and then bent over, the ‘fridge came off the ground and up the hill he went. To look at him was fearsome, but he had a gentle spirit. My mother was always a tower of strength, was able to take anything that came her way and I never worried about her ‘falling apart’ for any reason, as the oldest sibling her whole family turned to her for encouragement or help. Seeing them get older and die made me realize my own mortality, and then this week someone close to my own age that I loved dearly died suddenly and I felt a sense of fear. I’m admitting that out loud because as a person who was born and raised with complete faith in God, I find I have yielded to the temptation of being afraid; afraid that sickness will come for a long visit and death is waiting his turn to knock on my door.
So what should I do? I turn to the scriptures.
Isaiah 41:10 I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’ Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady and keep a firm grip on you.
OK reading that makes me breathe a little easier. Next to read is Isaiah 41:13 Count on it: Everyone who had it in for you will end up out in the cold—real losers. Those who worked against you will end up empty-handed— nothing to show for their lives. When you go out looking for your old adversaries you won’t find them—Not a trace of your old enemies, not even a memory. That’s right. Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’
43:1 Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
That scripture says He knows my name but I already knew that! He has called me; He has given me help and strength! He let me stand behind his back and shake my fist at the enemy! So what is this fear thing all about? I have heard it said that “Fear is Faith perverted“, that makes sense. If the devil can’t get you one way, he just does something different.
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly or fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
That gives you all the reason you need to conquer fear! This scripture puts fear right up there with all the other heavy-duty sins! So if you think you’re perfect because you have not been immoral, yet you have been fearful, I’m sorry, you’re a sinner too! Fear means you don’t trust God and that really angers Him, because He gave us so much! Fear not!