Fear Not

Fear Not

By Ken Alvis

Just about all of us fear something. It could be heights, spiders, snakes, getting a shot, being alone, germs, public speaking, or just general anxiety about everything. We all have fears.
The most famous scene of all time about fear is in A Charlie Brown Christmas, where Charlie Brown is depressed about Christmas. He goes to Lucy and pays his nickel to get help. For five cents (and the wonderful sound it makes rolling around the can),  neighborhood psychiatrist Lucy suggests he may have some fears. Lucy says:

“Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have hypengyophobia.” Charlie Brown responds: “I don’t think that’s it.” Lucy then says, “How about cats? If you’re afraid of cats, you have ailurophobia. Charlie Brown shakes his head and says, “Sort of…I’m not sure.”

Lucy continues: “Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have climacaphobia. Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is the fear of the ocean. Or gephyrobia, which is the fear of crossing a bridge.” Then she nails it! Lucy says, “Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?” Charlie Brown asks, “What’s that?” Lucy says, “That’s the fear of everything.” Charlie Brown yells, “That’s it!”

Fear is something we all face, especially when it is something you have no control over. In the book of Joshua, chapter 1, verse 9, God tells Joshua the following:

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Besides being “strong and courageous”, God told Joshua to “not be frightened.” How does this apply to us today? What did God mean? Well, the Bible mentions two types of fear. The first type is beneficial, and it is fear of the Lord. This type of fear doesn’t necessarily mean to be afraid, but it’s rather a reverential awe of God, a reverence for His power and His glory. But it is also a respect for His wrath and anger.

We know that fear of the Lord brings blessings. Psalm 111:10 says it is the beginning of wisdom and leads to good understanding. Proverbs 1:7 says only fools despise wisdom, and Proverbs 19:23 says fear of the Lord leads to life, rest, peace, and contentment. Gosh, I want that, and I know you do too!

The second fear is what God is warning Joshua about. It’s the spirit of fear mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” So, a spirit of fear or being timid does not come from God. But we are human, and fear can overcome us. The remedy is to trust in and love God completely. None of us are perfect, and God knows this, which is why He gives encouragement against fear throughout the Bible. Again and again, God reminds us to “Fear not.”

What a great encouragement for us all. Don’t be fearful because God is with us, and He has our back. A great example of this is in 2 Kings 6 where the young servant to the prophet Elisha was fearful because he looked around and saw a massive enemy army surrounding them. He says to Elisha, “What will we do now?” The circumstances looked hopeless from a human perspective. Elisha responds, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!” He then prayed and the Lord allowed the servant to see angels everywhere. God has our back!

Fears in our life can take many forms: maybe a relationship, maybe health for you or a loved one, or finances, or family-related. The biggest fear of all is often about the future, but when you understand God’s grace and mercy, you don’t need to fear the future.

The remedy is to pray for God’s peace when facing a fear in your life. When I realized I was going to have kind of a serious bypass surgery a few years ago, my first emotion was fear. Big fear. I finally gave that fear to the Lord, and I prayed for God’s presence and peace to calm me, and God provided that in abundance in an amazing supernatural way. Bottom line: God is telling us to not be afraid. Pray and give that fear to the Lord. Then stand still and watch God work. Let God take over because He will handle your predicaments so much better than you can, right?

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