I am not usually one for cat pictures (nothing against cats), but despite their sometimes cold reputation, cats are very demonstrative when it comes to fear responses. They do what I feel.
I’ve been thinking about fear a lot lately.
I recently had surgery on my foot. Scary.
My son is walking…and falling…a lot. Sometimes he cries because it hurts, but sometimes he cries because falling is scary.
There is so much fear in the news lately. We shoot each other, because we are afraid.
In fact, I have come to believe that most of the bad behavior in our lives is fear-related.
We lie because we are afraid to tell the truth and face the consequences.
We bully others because we are afraid of being bullied ourselves.
We rebel against our authorities because we are afraid they don’t really care about us.
We have fear problems because we have a massive trust problem. The perfect love of God casts out fear…but we don’t trust Him. I know we don’t trust Him because:
God says we can trust Him to take care of us…and yet we worry so much.
God says we can trust Him to forgive us…and yet we hide our sins and hold onto shame.
God says we can trust Him for true love…and yet we hook up because we are afraid no one will ever love us.
God says we can trust Him to direct our lives…and yet we want to be in control.
God says we can trust Him to bless our money…and yet we don’t give because we are afraid our needs won’t be met.
God says we can trust His wisdom and trust the boundaries He set up for our lives are for our good…but we want to live our own way.
We feel fear, we don’t trust God, and we sin.
What a mess.
It reminds me of a story, recorded in the book of Mark.
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:35-40 ESV)
I see myself in the disciples response to the scary storm –
“GOD, don’t You love me??? Don’t you care that I feel like I am dying here?”
Because we somehow have come to believe that Him loving us would mean that we don’t go through scary times. I believe that humanity has, by and large, become really bad at dealing with fear. Our response is to avoid it at all costs, and if avoidance isn’t possible we numb it out. Feeling fear and living through it just isn’t seen as an option by many.
This apparently isn’t a new human condition, as we see the disciples acting the very same way. “God, if You loved us You would make sure that we never had to go through anything scary. We don’t want to feel afraid, not ever. So if You really loved us, You would ensure a gentle ride through life.”
The truth is that we can trust in His love for us. He does love us, but what that actually means that we can have peace in scary times. Scary times are still going to happen. Perfect love casts out fear, not hard times. It is crucial that we come to understand this truth, because if we don’t then we are often going to be very scared, very mad at God, and very much wrapped up in whatever bad behavior (sin) we get into when we are running from fear.
So basically, it all comes down to trust. When we trust God’s perfect love, fear is cast out and sins are overcome. When we don’t trust God’s perfect love, fear floods in and sin explodes in our life.
If you are like me, you have a trust issue. I have grown in my trust for God over the years, but I still have much growing yet to do before my connection to perfect love is complete and fear is not a factor in my life. My trust has grown as my knowledge of Him has grown. The more scripture I absorb, the more I bare my soul and listen quietly for His response, the more I put myself in the stories of the Bible and see HIs character revealed, the more I practice gratitude, the more I offer thanks, the more I feed my soul truth from taking in good teaching, the more I step out in trust (no matter what the fraidy cat inside of me wants to do), the more His perfect love is made evident to me and fear subsides.
Join me in the journey? What are your thoughts about fear?