Maybe it’s time to confess- often I tend to worry and obsess more about situations more than I should. As my parents have often said to me, there’s 365 times that the Lord says in the bible for us not to fear and worry- therefore, one for us to reflect upon each day. That that is entirely true. Because when we look at it from an objective standpoint, we are indeed a fearful bunch. Afraid of politics, afraid of religion, afraid of people of other races, creeds, different kinds of faith, different sexual orientations…the list goes on. And then there’s things that people are afraid of that are on a personal level- heights, spiders, snakes, bombs, volcanoes, flashing lights, noises, crowds, war movies, metal music, tomatoes, eating healthy, the gym…you get the picture. Why are we so afraid? Sometimes I wish that Adam and Eve never took that apple- but that doesn’t change that the fact that it indeed happened, and because of sin, there are things in our lives that we want to change. One of the biggest things I’m sure people want to eradicate in their lives is fear, but sometimes I think- maybe we all are afraid because we’re not fully confident in what has been promised to us and given freely by the One who created us in the first place.
Huh? What kind of statement above is this? Hear me out. Not that we don’t believe in what Christ has spoken over our lives, I know I do. When I committed my life to Jesus all those years ago, I received into my heart Himself as I knew that all the plans I had for my own life were so small and miniscule, that all I had to do was to just trust Him with the bigger picture. It was easier being a Christian when I was younger, because I wasn’t really bombarded with the reality that we are faced with now. How I wish that the innocence of then could translate into the uncertainty of now. I am still a fully committed Christian, but that doesn’t mean that I am without fear and doubt. Uncertainty, worry, thinking, questions, all the things that come with looking at the society from a lens of realistic and reality rather than looking at it from how God sees it. And I know that I’m not the only one that is susceptible to these ideas. That around the world, what we initially knew when we were young has started to come into discussion when we have observed the happenings of this world, all the horrors and difficult circumstances to process. Fear rushes in, and we think- how can we trust in a God like we have believed in all our lives when all we see is things that seem to make us question and doubt Him rather than things that further our own relationship with Him and those around us?
Now this is not me falling off the bandwagon- quite the opposite. I’ve had the experience, I’ve seen and I’ve heard- God is real. The stories of Jesus are the truth. That Jesus’ death and resurrection changed the very fabric of what it means to live in this life and the next. But then what about this life? What about the fears, the real true ones we face every day? Why can’t we just not be afraid? If what we know as Christians is to be true, why are we still afraid? Why do we fear in our hearts, when in our heads that Jesus came so that we can be unafraid? That’s something I’ve been grappling with myself- so here’s a crack and an answer, though not necessarily summarised or succinct, but an answer nonetheless. We believe the gospel. But somewhere between the altar and the door, between our young faith and the faith we have now, we’ve seen reality. We’ve heard not only the Lord’s voice, but other voices as well. The voices of the media, of our friends, family, even the voice of Satan himself, telling us this and that. And the issue with hearing all the other voices other than the voice of God is that when we’re focused on things other than the ones that are central to our own foundation as followers of Jesus Christ, we start to become easily swayed. Sort of like the house that’s built on the rock and the sand in the bible. The rock is what the Lord says about situations, and the sand is everything and everyone else.
Now don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean we ought not to take advice from those closest to us when we come to them, longing for them to give us words of encouragement or wisdom. But we have to be firm and know, that fear is a result of believing a lie long ago, and letting that lie fester, until the moment when be mistake that lie as the truth. Fear, for a better acronym, is false evidence appearing real. Now the devil can easily do that- the bible says that the devil can scheme and plot and destroy, that he’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, that often the words of those who are not from God are only recognised as so when it is too late. So, what does that mean for followers of Christ, and the fear that we feel? Let me just say that fear can either fuel us into continually believing things about ourselves that aren’t necessarily true, or it can allow us to sit down and think, ‘gee, what lie am I believing about myself and the situation today?’. Fear, in essence, allows us to believe at the very core that God is somehow isn’t as strong enough as He says He is, even if He is loving enough for you and me, or He’s strong enough, but not loving to His creation…just look at all the disasters, right? Somewhere along the line, we’ve all believed that, even if we like to admit it or not. I know when I look at the world, these things have crossed my mind.
But then herein lies the point- that even if we are fearful, we can still trust. Trust the God has everything under control. That in the midst of fear, we will still plough on, understanding that it is only the word of the Lord that’s been spoken over us that truly matters in any situation. Not any other voice. Not the voice of the aunty or uncle, second cousin twice removed or even of your parents. I mean, sure, your parents will tell you what you think, and if they’re in a great relationship with the Lord and are in tune to what the Lord is speaking throughout the situation, then by all means go for it and hear what they have to say. But more often than not, parents are humans too, and what they say are just as clouded with the fears in their own lives when they speak about how to manage the fears in ours. This is why we have to look to the source, the One who calms all fears, regardless of where we’re at in a certain moment. Jesus Himself came as a man, and felt fear during this last moments during the crucifixion process. He understood what it means to fear and be feared (by the Jews), so our problems? A cinch, to Him.
Fear is always going to be present in our lives this side of heaven. A sad fact, because of the fall. How we wish that it was rid of from our lives, but in a weird way, to have fear in our lives is to realise that we are all human, that we all have faults, and that we all need a Saviour. And in believing into the fact that Jesus came and died and gave us new life, our fears don’t have to define us. We don’t have to be afraid about our futures, our pasts, worried that what we do or don’t do will gain the love or acceptance of those around us. Because Jesus loves without condition. In fact, we don’t have to do anything to come to the Lord, and while even after our acceptance of Him, we still don’t have to do anything, it is out of His love for us and our love for Him that good deeds and works will follow. Simple as that.
I’ve often wondered what it would look like in my own life if my life was rid of worry. If I could trust the Lord more in situations when I wanted to hold onto control more often than I should. This is where recently I have found peace and comfort in the new Tenth Avenue North album Followers– namely an album that reminds us all that in order to be leaders in whatever situation, we have to follow well, and follow with trust, trust that in whatever situation, what we’re undertaking will come to fruition even if we may not see the results at that very moment. To trust is hard, with fear present. But I’m sure that if we continue to hold onto Christ in those dear moments of trial, we can come to terms with the fact that while we’re here on Earth, we just have to somehow deal with the issue, that fear is a part of life at the moment. We may not like it, but at times, we may have to say, “Lord, I trust, even if I can’t see, even if everything else is crumbling apart, I will choose to trust You, because I know that even if fear says this, I know You are in control!’.
So before I finish, here’s a few questions to keep your mind thinking. Has there been moments where fear has crept into your life without you noticing, and you’ve been starting to think about issues and started to even doubt whether God can come through? Are you more of a realistic or an optimistic person? What song has comforted you during your season of fear? For me it’s songs like “Afraid” (Tenth Avenue North), “Trust in You” (Lauren Daigle), “Oh Fear (My God is Near)” (Moriah Peters), “Whom Shall I Fear” (Chris Tomlin) and “Fearless” (Group 1 Crew); what’re yours? Let me know in the comments. Til next time.