Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? We’re all afraid of something at sometime. “Afraid of the dark” when we were young, The “Bogeyman” in the closet, waiting to attack us as soon as we close our eyes. Afraid of heights, or depths, or people, or crowds, or bugs, or failure, or falling, or roller coasters, or that something bad will happen to your son or daughter whose away at college. Whatever anyone can be afraid of, all of us have fears about something. The words "people" and "phobias" go hand in hand. We can thank Adam and Eve and sin for that. We can say “oh don’t be afraid” but truth is, it’s ridiculous and impossible to never not be afraid of anything in life including death, which most people are afraid of, which is somewhat understandable. Having never been there or done that before.
Adam and Eve were the first people to be afraid. They were afraid of God, after they sinned against him. The first thing their new sin nature motivated them to do was hide from God because they were afraid of God (Genesis 3:10). That’s what fear initially does in people. Gets us to hide in small, remote, lonely places because like Adam & Eve, we feel vulnerable, alone and exposed when we’re afraid. We cower in the corners, under the couches or in caves. Maybe sometimes wondering “what did I do wrong” or “what did I do to cause this?” Most things we're afraid of either surprise us or we're afraid will surprise us. If we can’t be ready for it, we try to hide from it. We get away from people. Can’t be bothered with conversations. We want to be alone. We need to get our heads around it and either prepare for it or mitigate it in some way, especially if we can’t avoid it. Confronting our fears frankly scares us.
Fears and paranoias induce levels of panic and a sort of paralysis, which is probably why people instantly inhale, hold their breath, tighten up, can’t think straight. Can’t decide, and are indecisive not knowing which way to go or what to do. Afraid they’ll make a mistake or make things worse. And who can blame them?
Fears can be real and rational or irrational. I’ve known spouses and parents in hospitals with life and death illnesses or injuries, afraid their child or spouse would die. I know healthy people, still afraid of the Covid virus, still wearing a mask, and or a visor, social distancing and washing their hands with sanitizer multiple times a day, still feeling afraid, vulnerable and exposed. Afraid of getting sick. Wondering if every sickness or sneeze is anything more than a simple cold or allergy. I’ve known people who unexpectantly lost their job. Afraid not knowing what they’d do, or where or when they’d find another job before the mortgage payment was due and their savings ran out. I’ve known people afraid of the "what if's" in life. What if this or that happens? People who’ve spent their lives locked in fear, phobia, and paranoia, always defensive, afraid they were getting cheated or somehow mistreated by others. Always protective. Closed off. Too afraid to open up. There are people uncomfortable with the easy online access to information now. Afraid of hackers, and identity theft, of other countries, and of our own government. After all big brother is watching. And “what if….”? I'm not saying they're wrong but...
Proverbs 29:25 was right “The fear(s) of man is trap” It’ll hold you back, but “trusting in the Lord is to be kept safe”. Which leads us to David in Psalms 34:4 “I sought the Lord and he answered me. He delivered me from all my fears” David wrote this when he was in a cave on the run from Saul and from the Philistines, after he had killed Goliath and showed everyone, he knew how to get a head in life (some will get that later). While we cannot, not be afraid of things in life. Like David there is something positive we can do about them that gets us out of the corners and caves and from underneath the couches in life.
In verses 1 to 4 David “sought God” which means he pursued God in prayer and praise for who God is and for what God had already done in his life. When we’re afraid of the whatever, decide who God is to you in life and in your life. Then look back at everything God has already done in your life and brought you through. You’re here today because God saved you, empowered you, was gracious to you, and helped you, yesterday. He got you this far. Didn't he?
Then David says, God “delivered me from all my fears” real and imaginable. You can’t focus on fears and faith at the same time. When we really focus our faith on God, we focus less and less on our fears in life. Remembering who God, all that God has done and can do. Mostly remembering how much God loves us, is aware of our situation, and is going to do something positive about it, because God cares for us. Overtime God delivers us (saves us) from all our fears real and imaginable, as we focus on following God by faith, not paralyzed by phobias and fears of the “what if’s” in life. Ironically, what if God shows up and it’s all good? Or what if whatever you were afraid of, wasn't ever real or bigger than God?
Statistically most things people are afraid of don’t ever happen. They’re not real. There is no “Boogeyman” in your closet. Just on a dance floor back in the 70’s. Most people don’t die on rollercoasters. Children are safe and having fun at colleges. Things don’t get as bad as people are afraid of. People find (are lead to) new jobs. Virus’ and pandemics come and go. Life goes on and on. Everything pans out. Big brother is watching and has been watching for a long time and people do die, but there is a whole lot of living to do and enjoy despite it all. David came out of the cave and became the leader he was because his faith in God was greater than his fears in life. Faith sin God beats fears in life and so can yours.
Build up your faith in God by getting to know God more from various places and passages in the Bible. Speak out loud to God. Praise and thank him for who he is and all he’s already done for you in life. Ask him to help you now. And follow his lead from whatever it is you’re afraid of, because while fear paralyzes us, faith in God empowers us and sets us free to be all God has created us to be..
So where's God at in your life and what are you afraid of?