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I first noticed it when we moved to a place that is right off of a fairly busy road. It's one-story, with no fence around it, so I felt vulnerable to any passersby that may show up with malicious intentions. Then I started thinking about crazy murders that happen all over, and what I would do in those situations. Next we got renters insurance, which was recommended by a lot of friends; I don't think renters insurance is a bad thing necessarily, but it only added to my fear: what if someone broke in and stole our stuff? What if a fire happened? Do I need to pay extra for earthquake insurance because we live in California (it's ridiculous to me that earthquake insurance is not included)?
All of these things added up to nothing but fear, and it came upon me in a way I've never experienced before. I've never really considered those things in the past, but suddenly the thought that "it could happen to me" flung itself to the forefront of my mind.
Later on in the year, this whole threat from North Korea happened. I imagined myself in a situation where we were always on our guard, ready for some terrible attack -- bomb drills and disaster kits. What would it be like to live like that? Putting my self in that place mentally brought down more fear.
Of course, as a Christian, I don't have to be afraid, right?
“Where, O death, is your victory?That's 1 Corinthians 15:55-57. Or how about 1 John 4:16b-18?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe those verses and they have brought me much comfort, even as I presently consider fear. But fear still hits me, sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small. Sometimes I'm just afraid of what the guy next to me will think of me because my shirt doesn't fit right, or my hair makes me look like a pot-head. And sometimes, I'm afraid of death.
I realized the fear of death was still with me a couple weeks ago when my community group was discussing it. Have you ever imagined you died? What happens next? Even as a Christian, have you ever imagined yourself standing before God? Or in line to receive judgement? Of course, we're covered because we claimed Jesus' sacrifice as atonement for the wrong we've done, but just putting yourself there is scary...scary because it is unknown.
Humans have a natural tendency to be afraid of the unknown, and though the bible tells us some things to expect in the after-life, it's still an unknown experience and therefore scary to me.
To overcome this requires a lot of faith. We have to be sure that Jesus is the right way, the straight path to God. But then read Matthew 7:21-23:
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’That's scary. How many Christians that you know have prophesied, driven out demons or performed miracles, all in Jesus' name? Even if you know some, they might not get to Heaven! The most religious and "righteous" people you know may be turned away by Jesus.
Jesus says at the end there, "I never knew you. Away from me...." That tells me that this life is about getting to know Jesus, and to not do so will ensure an eternity away from Him. It's not about works (although faith and works go hand in hand) or praying a prayer and then going on your way. Know God and make Him known. That's central. That's crucial.
I don't mean to sound condescending, but I don't understand how people who don't believe in God escape being trapped by this fear. I believe that a higher power directs my steps, loves me and cares a lot about me, yet I still find myself afraid often. What do you do without those beliefs?
I was motivated to write this because we've been watching the Harry Potter movies. He was fearless and courageous throughout, in ways we could only hope to be. He was less concerned about his personal safety and more concerned about right and wrong, or his friends' well-being. It got me thinking about what I'm afraid of and why. If Harry Potter can be fearless, why can't I? That sounds silly, but with Jesus, I feel like this kind of courage and fearlessness can be attained.