I used to be afraid of the dark. When I was a kid I can remember being afraid as I would lie in my bed at night, and listen to the nighttime sounds in my house. My mind would fashion all kinds of monsters and bad guys that were the authors of those creepy sounds. I would sleep with my covers pulled up over my head to hide from these imaginary villains. I would lie there and decide there had to be one under my bed waiting for me to fall asleep.
No way could there have been someone under there. I had too much junk under my bed for anyone to squeeze in under there, but that’s what Fear does to you. It makes impossible (or unlikely) things seem possible.
At other times when I found myself in dark places, I would whistle. I’m not sure what I thought whistling in the dark would do for me, but for some reason it brought me a little measure of comfort. I guess I thought if I whistled I could fool Fear into thinking I was not really afraid of him.
I’m not afraid of the dark anymore. At some point in my life I let go of that fear. Or it let go of me. That’s not to say I haven’t picked up new Fears along the way. Fear feels like a great hand that comes up behind you, reaching it’s fingers over you, squeezing you and then weighing you down with it’s worries. When you walk in fear you carry that burden with you everywhere. It’s heavy, and it’s constricting.
I hate the palpable feeling of it coming upon me. When I feel the grip of Fear taking hold in my life I reason with myself. I know full well this feeling is not coming from the Lord. The Bible says that,
“…God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
So if this feeling is not coming from God then it has only a couple of other possible sources. I’m manufacturing it on my own, or it is from the enemy. Either way, the enemy is laughing at me. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never liked being laughed at. I love to laugh with people, even at my own follies, but I’m not a real fan of laughter at my expense. I don’t think anyone likes that. It makes us feel small and insignificant.
When we allow Fear to take hold of us it robs us of the gift of Peace. The letter to the Galatian church (Galatians 5:22-23) teaches that the Spirit gives each of us the gift of Peace. So if the Spirit is in us, if we are followers of Christ it is, then why do we offer up our gift of Peace so easily? Why is it not stronger than the grip of Fear?
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”(John 14:27)
The world offers up much for us to fear. We fear the loss of those we love, loss of our health, loss of jobs, homes and possessions. We fear humiliation, failure, and shame. As mothers we fear for our children. I’m not sure I have the time or space to list all the things I fear for my children. I have to constantly cast those fears away. If I let those fears take hold of me, I’d never be able to let my kids out of the house.
It frustrates me to no end that even though I do my best to walk in the Peace of God, I still allow Fear to get a grip on me sometimes. So what’s the solution to this dilemma? Maybe we can find it in Isaiah. Isaiah 41:10 is ironically one of my favorite verses…go figure.
“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.”
So I suppose the answer to Fear is trust. God says, “Hey, I’ve got this. I am right beside you, let me help. Let me hold you up.” What if we could do that whenever Fear tries to gets it’s grip on us… you know, trust God? Then we could walk in Peace no matter our circumstances. I don’t know about you, but it beats the heck out of whistling in the dark.