New Year, Same Fear: The Fear of the Unknown

Written By: Dr. Ravae Wilson


January 9, 2024

This past summer, I wrote a blog for our “What God Says About” series that focused on fear. If you haven’t read it yet, that’s fine; I’ll summarize.

In the blog, I share a story about a trip to Disney World with my friends. One of them brought their daughter, who was about ten years old at the time. We were standing in line for the Tower of Terror; naturally, our friend’s daughter was a bit afraid. I mean, the whole ride is centered around a fear of literally falling to your death—who wouldn’t be? So, as we navigated the line, we had lots of different conversations about fear. As she was the only one who had never been on the ride, we tried to tell her what to expect—telling her you know when the “scary” part is about to happen because you’ll hear the ride click into place. If you’ve ridden the Tower of Terror before, you know what I’m talking about.

For us, the ride is more thrilling because we know what to expect. We’ve done it before. Sure, we don’t know when the ride will “click into place,” or if we’ll shoot up first and then drop, or drop first, but we still know what we are getting ourselves into; we can anticipate what will happen next. For my friend’s daughter, everything about what happened on this ride was unknown. And that is what scared her the most—the fear of the unknown.

There is something in each of us that causes us to fear the unknown. Maybe what leads us to this fear is the fact that we can’t control everything. We have no control over the future. We don’t know if a loved one will get sick or leave us unexpectedly. We don’t know when the next global disaster or crisis could happen. That loss of control can leave us full of fear.

In the blog I mentioned above, I learned a valuable lesson about fear that might help us turn to peace when it comes to the unknown. Scripture tells us time and time again that we have nothing to fear:

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

1 Peter 3:13–14 says, “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled.”

The word “blessed” in the passage above has the same translation as the “blessed” found in Matthew’s Beatitudes. It means to be highly privileged, which comes from being a part of the family of God. It is something this world cannot give us, nor can this world take away. So, because of the privilege we have in Christ [meaning we have a relationship with Him and have trusted Him as our Savior], we should not fear the unknown. Why? Because even if all our deepest fears come to fruition, we are blessed, and NOTHING can take that blessing from us.

God does not give us a spirit of fear. If we are in Christ, no one can harm us because He blesses us. Wow. No matter what unknowns we face, we will always hold the position of being highly favored sons and daughters of God.

I’m an anxious person. And because of this, I often fear the things I cannot control because I don’t know the outcome—a.k.a., the unknown. But what a sweet reminder to us from scripture that the God of the universe holds every moment in His hands. I forget that I don’t need to fear the world’s sufferings because the King of kings and Lord of lords suffered and conquered death. Moments of fear in our lives often challenge our faith. When I give into my fear of the unknown, am I really believing that God, who created every intricate detail of this universe, is truly in control?

We can’t always anticipate what is going to happen, or when the ride of life is going to “click into place.” But we can always trust God and His Word. In those moments when we feel overwhelmed, let’s turn to scripture and rest in the truths of these verses.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6