Webster defines fear as an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation of danger or pain. Fear implies anxiety and usually loss of courage. This strong emotion creates changes in brain and body functions. Ultimately, fear may cause a person to run away, hide or freeze from a perceived threat. We can choose to confront that danger or flee from it. This is known as the fight or flight response.
Humans learn fear. Some fears are considered normal and adaptive. But when fear unnecessarily restricts our lives, intervention is called for. Extreme, irrational fear that is out of proportion to reality is called a phobia. The second-most common Greek word for “fear” in the New Testament is “phobos.”
Another definition of fear is to have a reverential awe of something (like God). (Gen. 42:18, Ex. 18:21, I Pet. 2:17, Rev. 14:7) The most common word for “fear” in the New Testament—“phobeo”— carries this additional meaning.
Fear is a result of man’s being out of harmony with the Creator. In the beginning Adam and Eve had no fear because they were under divine protection. But when they sinned, the curse followed and they were afraid. (Gen. 3:10)
Additionally, fear comes from worrying about the future, “What will happen?” People may ruminate and try to plan and plan for every scary problem that might enter their lives. But no one can foresee every problem. We don’t even know if what seems like a terrible disaster today may not resolve itself by tomorrow. There are so many unknowns . . . to us. But there are no unknowns to God. Isaiah 46:9, 10, reads “I am God, there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning…” Only God knows and controls the future.
I believe a wise way to live is to trust God with my future! Do I believe He loves me? Yes! So, if He loves me, I ask Him to direct my life. I will still have painful experiences, but I know God will help me through them. I John 4:16-21, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love…There is no fear in love. But perfect loves drives out fear…”
Our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…” because God is protecting and directing every aspect of a Christian’s life. (He even knows how many hairs are in our head! Matt. 10:30). I am reminded of a poem entitled:
“What God Has Promised”
God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through.
God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the laborer, light on the way;
Grace for the trial, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying Love.