Fear is a most undesirable, yet ubiquitous emotion that man experiences. No matter how great or powerful man might be, he is not immune to fear. Fear has its origin in the finiteness of man. Like all other living beings, man is limited but unlike the animals around him, man possesses an unlimited desire. This coupling of finiteness with an eternal desire within produces the possibility of loss. Man cannot control all things around him, he cannot prevent adversity and he can only stare helplessly at the prospect of death. Fear is the sequel.
It follows that if man has to overcome his fears, he needs to have the assurance provided by something or someone greater than the source of his insecurities. This could include insurance policies, a bank balance, networking with presumably powerful people and so on. To some extent all these help, but eventually fail to provide a lasting relief to fear, because none of these are lasting. Only God, who is eternal, can provide man with an eternal source of assurance, thereby providing him with a possibility of abolition of fear.
The classic story of David and Goliath contrasts the fear of the worldly with the boldness of the godly.
On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. (1Samuel 17:11)
The account describes how Saul, who by now had turned away from depending on and obeying God trembled with fear, at every corner. And it wasn’t only the formidable Goliath who inspired panic in him. Intimidated by the Philistine army, he refuses to wait for Samuel and dishonors God by offering the sacrifice. When instructed by God to wipe out the Amalekites and all they possessed, he partly obeys and leaves the best of the sheep. To Samuel who confronts him, the reply suggests fear of his own people whom he ruled over.
——- I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. (1Samuel 15:24)
As David accomplishes victory after victory, Saul becomes afraid of David and wastes the latter part of his life and kingship, chasing David and bringing himself to ruin. The contrast evoked by David cannot be starker. As he learns to lean on to God and depend on him, he manages to eliminate to a large extent the vocabulary of fear from his life. In his own words,
The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. (Psalms 27:1-3)
The irony of the hunter being very afraid and the hunted being not is hard to miss. Shortly before his departure, Jesus gives his disciples the grandest assurance man can have.
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)
And as Christians through the centuries have found verification of this statement in their lives by virtue of union with God, it has been proven that fear indeed can be abolished.
- THE JOURNEY OF THE ARK
- PRODUCTIVITY AMIDST ADVERSITY