God is light, in Him there is no darkness. Perfect love drives out fear.
Someone said that there are 365 Bible verses that admonish, “do not fear” or “do not be afraid.” Considering “fear” is my word of the year, I thought I’d look them all up, one for each day. Maybe we could even look at them together all year…I began and found that:
1) I didn’t see 365 Bible verses saying “don’t fear” or some equivalent; and
2) even if I had tried hard to scout them all out, the verses I did find weren’t all that encouraging, so I just quit the project.
I’ve had people telling me all my life things ranging from, “don’t be afraid” to “that’s what you’re really thinking!?” to “quit being ridiculous.” None of those statements has ever helped still my quaking innards or calm my chipmunk thoughts.
In fact, at this point, I’m pretty allergic to people telling me things like that. There is, actually, A LOT to be afraid of! A casual perusal of the newspaper will reveal this much. Plus, when my quaking and chipmunking don’t dissipate with such pearls of wisdom, and since I’m too honest to assure such would-be helpers, “wow, I feel better after that pep-talk,” people tend to get impatient with me. I wear people out, is what I’m saying.
Also, better, but unfortunately not particularly helpful is people quoting verses or simple Christian truths. That, my friends, rings cliche. For example: “God is in control,” or “God works all things for the good,” or “I’ve read the end of the Bible, and the good guys win”… Yes, right. And, my head knows these things, but my body and feelings just don’t respond to the fairy-tale ending approach. My allergy makes my mind argue (usually, inside my head). My inner argument goes like this: yes, those things are true, but not actually that easy because…well, for one thing, have you actually read the whole middle of the Bible? The blood, sweat and tears God has shed and asks His children to shed…?
Turns out arguing with people in this situation wears people out, too.
So, am I doomed? Are all the unfortunate souls out there like me doomed to a life of anti-anxiety medication and wearing friends out until the only person who will talk to us is our therapist and even she doesn’t look forward to that hour?
Of course not. Something I’m finding that shifts my body’s apprehension is taking in God’s character. As in, gazing at His character, thinking about it, and then trying to act as if His character is true. (I’m pretty sure, in the olden days — or, older denominations today — this is called “meditating on God”).
Not that His character is not true, but that I do not always act as if it were true.
And, the most apparent facet of God’s character that scripture is steeped in and that melts my fear, is fixing my gaze on His love. CS Lewis captured the sentiment perfectly: God, it turns out, is much like Aslan. Not a safe, tame lion. But, an utterly good one.