The Sum of All Fears

Is the ultimate test of faith learning how to handle fear?

Jim Allen

Are you having a hard time coming to grips with the way things are? You are not alone.

"Daily, we face the accelerating deterioration of our society, the escalating loss of religious and personal freedoms, and the suffocating fear and anxiety caused by the onrush of the end of this Age. The Bible says that in the last days this anxiety and dread will reach such proportions that men's hearts will fail them for fear when they see what is coming on the earth. Christians are not exempt from this anxiety" [1].

This "new reality" of a declining America awashed in misinformation and corruption has the potential to replace our faith with fear. As a result, our overall sense of wellbeing is severely challenged. Is there any among us who do not have moments of doubt, dread, and a lingering sense of not knowing what's next? Although the Bible encourages believers to have faith (Psalm 27:1), we struggle just the same.

Though we possess the power to walk in victory, there is one test set before every believer that is often more foreboding than all others. The name of this test is "fear," a disturbing emotion aroused by real or imagined danger. Fear hangs in the air like flaming arrows from the archer's bow. The bellowing thunderstorm from our "new reality" produces fearful thoughts, like hail pounding on the roof of the soul to quench its inner peace. Fear is a brutal adversary. Fear attaches itself to the soul like a leech to the body, draining our hope in Christ. Yet, a vast majority of things we fear never become reality. In our mind's eye, however, false fears sometimes seem more real than anything else around us [2].

Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, knowing His hour had come (Luke 22:39-46). He had wished it not to be so but knew it to be true. Jesus realized the crucifixion would be horrifying before it happened (Matthew 16:21). It's no wonder that He prayed, "If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me" (Matthew 26:39). Nevertheless, He didn't lose sight of the Father's vision for the salvation of mankind. Jesus saw past the cross to the resurrection on the other side. We may fear death, but Jesus never did. We may doubt God's purposes in suffering, but Jesus never did. Ever! [3] Should we do anything less?

The anguish of the current reality in America comes before us with many unknowns. We sense it every day and in every way. God is sovereign in all things, keenly aware of our uneasiness and sensing our dread. Because God is sovereign, fear need not be true for us. We have been given a vision to look beyond tomorrow to the other side. We have been given the gift of faith to see things unseen, to go forward and not stall out during the days ahead. We can look beyond the "new reality" to the reality of our blessed hope in Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:27). Jesus promised to keep us from the hour of temptation that is coming upon the whole world to test those who live on the Earth (Revelation 3:10). Jesus inspired the apostle Paul to write about this promise in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, which concludes with, "Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

The good news has always been that believers need never fear because God's plan for us is peace, protection, and a future with hope (Jeremiah 29:11). While our bodies are chained to the world's reality, our souls are tethered to the reality of Christ by faith. We have a direct connection to God. One of my favorite "soft whispers" from God during prayer (for inner strength) is Psalm 46:10: "Be still and know that I am God!" These words ring true because we know them to be true. This particular verse Psalm 91composes an interesting construct, inviting silent submission to come under God's protective wing.

The apostle John said, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love" (1 John 4:18). Jesus describes doubt and fear to be the opposite of faith (Matthew 14:31). He also tells the twelve not to be fearful or anxious about life, but to speak in the light and proclaim the good news from the housetops (Matthew 10:26-28).

"The end of our lives, like the end of time, holds elements of fear. God's Word makes it clear we do not need to fear. We do, however, need to trust Him and draw near. God will always provide the guidance and assurance we need to make it through the day" [4].

God will keep us in perfect peace so long as we keep our eyes on Him (Isaiah 26:3).

[1] The Hal Lindsey Report, January 18, 2013
[2] Fear Bible Study, Part 1: What is Fear?, The Hem of His Garment Bible Study
[3] Did Jesus experience "doubt" and "fear"? by Denny Burk
[4] The Fear of End Times, Lesson 1 , Christian Life Resources (paraphrased)

Image Credit: Lili Vierira de Carvalho; "Peekaboo"; Creative Commons

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Published 1-23-13