Life began in a perfect place where there was no fear and no reason to fear. There was only love, harmony, and joy. Then the first man fell in sin, and fear has been a part of life ever since.
Without Jesus there is only fleeting hope or glib platitudes that bring little solace to fearful hearts.
Fear comes early and stays late. Fear is powerful and infectious. The young among us know fear; the elderly among us know fear. In some form or another, fear is common to humanity. Fear, like love, is one of those things that transcends age, gender, and culture. We fear darkness; we fear for those we love; we fear being lost; we fear separation; we fear the unknown. As we grow and mature, fear's features shift and change, but fear's leering, taunting face never altogether fades.
It's possible for fear to grab hold of our hearts when we are walking through a season of life that is sweet, light, and predictable. But most often, it is when God is bringing us (or someone we love) through a situation where we cannot imagine how it will possibly all work out. That's when fear tends to comes surging into our hearts, pressing tight, weighing heavy day and night.
The other day I spent over an hour talking on the phone with a Christian friend who is going through an unimaginable trial. She is afraid and does not know how the coming days will unfold. Her future is dark with uncertainty. Fear beckons and questions swirl:
- Why did God let this—cause this!—to happen?
- What good could God possibly bring out of this?
- What is the future going to look like?
- How will He bring light at the end of this darkness?
And yet as I hung up the phone after that conversation, my heart was surprisingly encouraged. What began as my friend sharing her doubts and fears turned into a conversation about her faith, her God.
Without Jesus there is only fleeting hope or glib platitudes that bring little solace to fearful hearts. But with Jesus, no matter why we're afraid, no matter how uncertain our future, and no matter how deeply rooted our fear, being afraid can remind us afresh why we so desperately need faith.
Faith brings hope, because eyes of faith look up to a God who knows us, who cares for us, who will preserve us, and who is with us. In this life, and especially during trials, we often fear because we don't know how things will end; but with eyes of faith, we look to our God who does.
When we are alone and afraid, we, must listen for the voice of our Father.
Picture a child sitting alone in his room in the dark of night, crying out in fear. The parent goes to him, leans close, and cradles him in gentle, strong arms whispering, "Hush, little one. It's okay. I'm here now. You're not alone. I'm here with you."
When that is us, when we are alone and afraid, we, too, must listen for the voice of our Father:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isa. 41:10).
Child of God, is fear pressing in on your heart? If it is, are you listening for your Father's voice?