By David Faust
Some fears are mislabeled. We call it “stage fright,” but we’re not afraid of the stage; we’re afraid of the audience. Children say they’re afraid of the dark, but their anxiety actually springs from the threats that lurk in the darkness, not from the lack of light itself.
Since fear is one of our most common emotions, peace is one of the Lord’s greatest gifts. David declared, “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).
Lions on the Loose
What shall I fear? Lots of things come to mind. On a societal level we fear global economic collapse and terrorist attacks. On a personal level most of us can name something we fear: insects, snakes, heights, deep water, criminal assault, professional failure, debilitating illness, unemployment, loneliness, or death.
Last October a despondent exotic game collector near Zanesville, Ohio decided to take his own life, but first he opened the cages and allowed all of his wild animals to escape. Law enforcement personnel warned area residents to stay indoors because a scary assortment of tigers, cheetahs, wolves, and bears were roaming free. A startled motorist called 911 and reported, “There’s a lion on the road!”
The Bible sounds a similar warning: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV, 1984). Just as a yellow highway sign warns about a dangerous curve ahead, some cautions are well-founded. Yet, we don’t have to cower in fear and live under a constant cloud of anxiety.
Believers on the Move
When God is with us, we can be confident. “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident” (Psalms 27:3).
When God is with us, we can be focused. “One thing I ask of the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (v. 4).
When God is with us, we can fight back against worry. “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock” (v. 5).
When God is with us, we are never alone. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (v. 10).
When God is with us, we can be hopeful. “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (v. 13).
God’s promises are true. Christ’s victory is certain. The Holy Spirit’s power is real. With the Lord’s help we can tackle big challenges, overcome overwhelming odds, and endure painful hardships. By the power of God we can face down our fears and live each day by faith. With the Lord’s help we can go beyond what looks possible, give beyond what seems reasonable, and penetrate tough mission fields with the gospel.
Why are you afraid? “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (v. 14).
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of the Lookout.
1. What scares you? What calms you?
2. How does the Lord help you face your fears? How could you help someone else who feels afraid?