Gripped by Fear
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Have you ever watched a suspenseful movie where a bad guy is stalking the good guy. There comes a point, in the chase, where the bad guy catches up with the good guy and they stand there, for a moment staring at each other. You find that you are shouting at the good guy to “Run!”. You say to those watching the movie with you, “Why doesn’t he run and get out of there?” That good guy is gripped by fear. Fear can paralyze us. Fear can so grab our hearts and minds that we find it difficult to think clearly. If left unchecked, it can lead to panic attacks or foolish decisions. One of the most frightening things about fear is just how real it feels. It does not feel like an emotion but it feels like something truly has overtaken us.
Fear is multifaceted. There is fear of man. Fear of failure. Fear of heights, or water, or clowns. We may find that as we get older our fears may multiply. We have spent so many years trusting our own abilities that when they start to deteriorate, we become more fearful. One fear that many of us have but are afraid to think about or admit, is that we fear people will find out that we are a phony. That we have been faking it all these years. In reality, we are not confident, we are not sure of what we are doing, and we really do not know what we are doing. Fear is scary.
God knows this. That is why, in the Bible, he speaks often of fear. Some people say that the term “fear not” appears in the Bible 365 times. They see in that a hidden message of love that God tells us each day of the year not to fear. I’m not sure that is what is intended and the truth is that the term and idea of “fearing not” is found many more times in the Bible than the 365 times they claim. God knows us and he knows that there is much for us to fear. Yet, he does not want us to live in fear. He wants us to live strong and courageously. He wants us to live by faith. Faith in his ability to handle all things. Faith in the fact that he loves us enough to handle things for us.
Truth is, we know that God brings things into our lives that are bigger than us so that we might trust his power and love. We learned that as children. David had to fight Goliath. Joshua had to face the walls of Jericho. We sang about Daniel in the lion’s den. Our parents continually told us that God was bigger than any boogie man that was hiding in the dark. And, as children, we would be gripped by fear, we would learn to trust God and slowly our fears would fade. So, why, as adults, do we find ourselves wrestling with paralyzing fear? Is it that we are not gripping on to things too tightly? We have more that we love and we are gripping way too tightly to it? We are gripping so tightly to this life that is fleeting so quickly away? We have goals and desires that are not spiritually healthy for us but we have grown to love them too much? We grip so tightly to peace and safety that any threat brings a fear that grips us way too tightly. It is not that we do not know that God is bigger than the boogie man, it is just that we have grown used to our boogie men and we kind of like them. To lose them now would bring changes in our lives that we are not comfortable with. It makes us more fearful of the change than the boogie man.
This life, this world, this place is not our home. It is good to find joy, peace, and as much fulfillment as possible while living here but we cannot hold to this life so tightly that we lose the desire God has planted in us for him. We need to want him more than anything. We need to not only know of his power and his love but we need to allow the Spirit of God to continually grow the desire to know of his power and love. Paul shares in Phil 3 how he has lost his grip on anything and everything so that he can know the power of the resurrection. So that he can know God. If we desire to know God above all things then we can loosen our grip on things and we will not be so fearful to lose them. Like Paul, we would give it all up --- health, lifestyle, goals, our lives – to know him. There is therefore, nothing to fear because every road he brings us on is a road to know him better. Fear not, today is another day to know his power and love in a new and fresher way...