“AAAHHH!” She screamed as she jumped back in fear, like she was being cornered by a hangry T-Rex roaring loudly through huge, sharp teeth. Nope. It was just me.
All I did was walk down the hallway, turn the corner into the laundry room where my wife was dutifully doing laundry, and I said, “Hey …” And she screamed! I don’t think I’m all that intimidating of a guy. I’m not that scary. So what’s going on here? Fear. Plain and simple fear.
Fear is triggered by situations that threaten us. Like tornadoes or T-Rex husbands. Or that feeling I got in the parking lot last Thursday that my car had been stolen. I came back out of the store and my car was gone, it wasn’t where I parked it. That sinking feeling like, “Oh no. What now? This stinks. Wait. Maybe I’m parked in the next row. Oh. Yup. There’s my car.” Duh.
Sometimes we fear what we don’t need to fear (but we don’t know that in the moment). Do you need to fear your child’s ADHD or your husband’s anger issues? Do you need to fear gas prices, increased home values that trigger higher taxes, or your job review next week? Do you need to fear mass shootings, school bullies, or your daughter having sex before marriage? Do you need to fear God? Do you need to fear yourself?
God cares for you enough to create fear in your design so you duck when a flying object comes speeding at your head. And he also cares for you enough to let you know that you should’t be afraid of everything, and shouldn’t be afraid of things he tells you not to be afraid of, and should be afraid of other things more than you really are. Including your own fear responses.
Are they always accurate? Do they build your hope or break it? Do they prompt you to sin less or more?
Faith should manage your fear, not the other way around. Fear is a tool in your tool box designed by God, but it is not for everything, and is meant to replaced by other tools. Like faith.
For example, seeing a lion is likely to provoke a fear response in your brain, but that response is tempered by the existence of a thick glass wall in a zoo. That thick glass, spiritually speaking, is God. His promises. His presence. His power.
Do you believe God is stronger than a lion? Than a job review? Than your own anxiety, discomfort or pain? Than ADHD, anger, the future, the past, interest rates, sickness, or the separation you’re feeling between you and your spouse or kids? Than your shame or guilt or cowardice or laziness?
God promises, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
What should you be looking at through the thick glass that is God? Where are you more afraid right now than you should be? In what uncomfortable situation do you find yourself over and over again? When you put God first instead of fear, you can be comfortable being uncomfortable. You can sit ten feet from a lion and know that you’re not in danger.
PRAYER: Dear God, you are my thick glass wall. I’m not afraid of the lion, or of anything that threatens me, now matter how scary, sinful, uncertain or out of control. Teach me today to see more things through you, and to trust more in your promises and presence. Amen.
EVANGELISM ACTION: Tell a friend who needs Jesus about fear being like a lion ten feet away, and God is the thick glass wall. Confess to them your own fears, and share your prayer that you see more things through the thick glass wall. And that thick glass wall of God is theirs too.