I’ve heard so many connections between fear and faith in recent months.
Perhaps you’ve heard some similar things?
- I’m not afraid of COVID, so I don’t need to take precautions. I have more faith than fear.
- My precautions aren’t out of fear. I know God will provide, but I also know he wants me to handle myself responsibly and be considerate of others.
- God is in control and is going to do big things with this election—until it doesn’t turn out the way I want, then…evil is winning and we must take action and fight back.
- God is in control. I’m not fearful, although I am concerned. I know God can work through any circumstance, regardless of whether I can see how it all fits or not. God doesn’t choose a political side. He is bigger, and I’ll try to faithfully live within that truth.
- God says don’t be afraid, so I’m going to live my life without any apprehension. Also, I will not hesitate to protect myself and my rights at just about any cost.
- God’s instructions about fear seem confusing at times. He instructs us not to fear, but we are to fear him. The two types of fear are not synonymous. If I know him well, I get that most of the time. I know how powerful he is, and that puts my mind at ease about most everything in my life.
I don’t know when (or why) we turned fear into a finger pointing accusation to judge people who are not responding the way we want. Or we deny fear when it would be a lot healthily for us to have a bit of it instead of acting with little disregard of our motives or results. Whatever happened to the truth of fear? Maybe that’s part of the why of it all. We’ve turned fear into something that conveniently explains or accuses instead of finding the truth and health in it.
I’ve shared the story of my fear of trolls when I was younger. The object of my fear wasn’t real—duh—but my experience still felt like fear. My feelings didn’t match reality. But there have been plenty of situations in my life that have spurred fear, which would have put me in real danger if I hadn’t listened to it. To deny the fear would have been to deny reality.
Then there is the fear of God. A run-from-God kind of fear? Well, that’s not really what he has in mind, since even if we’re in the wrong and have good reason to run the other direction, we can’t unrun him, not to mention, he would rather we face him, deal with consequences, and experience his mercy and grace. Read the book of Jonah if you want to succinct example.
It makes sense to me to let God’s definition of fear and directions guide us. It’s actually naïve of us to point the finger of fear to others, when we have our own fears to deal with. Even if we don’t name it fear, our actions betray us. Why not pursue the truth of something before slinging mud or claiming strength that is built on sludge? Why would be put others down and build ourselves up, especially when doing so with such misconceptions? I don’t get it.
Or maybe I do, because I know I’ve done the same. Been there, done that, not going to guarantee I won’t do it again. But I can say one thing with assurance: I will try.
I will do my best to seek God and honor him in that pursuit, letting him challenge my way of thinking so that he can correct and prune me through the process. I want to honor him, and while I know he’s merciful and patient and forgiving, I also know I can disappoint him. And I know he is present and committed and loving even then. I want him to get all the glory of my life—when things seem to be going well and I reflect him well and when I pretty much stink in faith but walk through the stench with him until his light shines again.
I don’t want this post to be about pointing fingers at more people. I hope it challenges and encourages you. I hope you’ll listen to some of your interactions, accusations, and assumptions. I pray you will follow God with a fervor that gets ever closer to him, so he can let you know what his truth is, whether it concerns fear or faith or anything that connects you to him.