What are You REALLY Afraid Of?
What are you afraid of? Your deepest fear? In the 90s, after reading a Goosebumps book, I was terrified that a shark would come through the filter of a swimming pool. To this day, I am still cautious of the deep end. I always joke with my friends that I only have three fears: people in costumes where I can’t see their faces, bees (respect what they do, but they need to stay away from me), and garden gnomes. Yes, garden gnomes are deep-rooted fear in my life. I do not trust them. Call it an irrational fear, but I am terrified of them.
Sure, there are other things I am afraid of, some that are a bit more realistic or relatable. Fears like getting in a car accident, getting hurt, a family member having a health scare, not being good enough, not doing the right thing, and the list really could on and on depending on the day or season. But the older I get, and the more I think about fear, I often ask myself, what do I REALLY have to be afraid of?
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.”
As a believer, Scripture tells us time and time again that we have nothing to fear. The word blessed in the passage above is the same as that in beatitudes we find in Matthew 5. It means to be highly privileged, which comes from being part of the family of God. It is something this world cannot give us, nor can this world take it away. So, because of this privilege we have in Christ, we should not fear. Why? Because even if we suffer or all our deepest fears come to fruition, we are blessed, and NOTHING can take that blessing from us.
A few years ago, I was at Disney World with some friends and my friend’s 10-year-old daughter. We were standing in line for the Tower of Terror, and naturally, our friends’ daughter was a bit afraid. I mean, the whole ride is centered around a fear of literally falling to your death. It is weirdly one of my favorite rides, though! As we stood in line, we talked about fear. We talked about how we did not have to be afraid of anything because the Lord does not give us a spirit of fear. Now, I know the comparison of that verse and going on a rollercoaster might not be theologically profound, but it is a reminder we often forget.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
If I am reading Scripture right, God does not give us a spirit of fear and that if we are in Christ, no one can harm us because He blesses us. Wow. No matter what disappointments, struggles, suffering the world throws at us, we will always hold the position of being highly favored sons and daughters of God.
I am often guilty of forgetting this and forgetting that the God of the universe holds every moment in His hands. I forget that I do not need to fear the world’s sufferings because the King of kings and Lord of lords suffered and conquered death, so I do not have to worry. These moments of fear in our lives often challenge our faith. When I give into my fear, am I really trusting that there really is nothing that can harm me? Look, I know some things can physically harm us on earth. I am not naïve to that. But God has called us not to fear but to trust, trust in Him.
This past year is filled with a lot of fear, loss, and unknowns. Amid this, one thing remained the same: the mission of God in my life and of those around me. Sometimes it is God’s will for us to suffer, but we must have no fear. If we suffer for what is good, God is glorified.
In a recent message from Woodside’s Senior Pastor, Chris Brooks shared that if we are going to make it through this world, navigating our fears, trials, and suffering, we must put our hope in Jesus. We must have a relationship with Him because the hope we have in Him casts out all fear. His perfect love. His hope — an unshakable hope.
May we rest in His hope today.