In preparation for a message on Psalm 27, I began reading Ed Welch‘s book, Running Scared. Penetrating. Convicting. Comforting. All of those words are appropriate, at least for me. For as I have aged I have come to see how fear, often very subtle, effects my thought, actions, and reactions. My fears may not show, but they are very present. I have to regularly identify them and subject them to the Gospel.
Perhaps this does not seem to be a topic for you. You may feel you have no fears. For a long time I would have said similarly of myself – not that I had no fear, but few fears. But I learned differently about myself.
Interestingly, not long ago I was watching a rerun of the film First Knight, with Sean Connery & Richard Gere, set in King Arthur’s Camelot. In one scene I overheard an interesting conversation between Connery’s Arthur and Gere’s Lancelot. Arthur mused:
“A man who fears nothing is a man who loves nothing; and if you love nothing, what joy is there in your life?”
This was not the turning point in my thinking. But I did find it an interesting illustration of what I had learned. And while I do not think that it is necessarily a universally true, I do think it is a question worth pondering.
It may not be universally true because one who loves God with all of his heart, mind, and strength, loves what is good and yet should fear little. After all, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4.18) But then, which of us loves perfectly?
But I do think, in a sense, Arthur’s statement is widely, if not universally, true. There are many who mistake apathy for peace. It may be that some do not fear because they do not love; And they do not love because they fear fear. I know that is a dizzying statement. But think of it as the opposite of Franklin Roosevelt’s famous words: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” What if people do fear fear? If one knows that love is often risky, and fears fear enough, could that person not repress love because of fear?
OK. Enough philosophizing… In short, I suspect there must be a reason God says 300+ times in the Scripture: “Do not fear.” There must be a reason that this is the most frequently repeated command in the Bible. My suspicion is it is because fear is a near universal component of our personalities in this fallen world. And we would be wise to recognize both our fears and their effects on our hearts and lives.
Above is a video preview of Running Scared, featuring the author, Ed Welch. His insights and application of God’s Word to our plight are freeing.
One thought on “Fear, Worry, and Our Sovereign God”
Very interesting stuff Dennis. Fear has always been a strange word to me. I think it’s being afraid, scared, frightened, maybe even apprehension. All seem to also discribe a lack of faith . I know throughout the Bible God really dislikes a lack of faith. In my experience lack of faith perhaps has a root in fear. Is God really going to take care of me, will he do what he said, does he have my best interest in mind, can he keep me safe, can and has he really overcome death and the grave. If I give not out of my abundance, but when I don’t understand how to meet my bills and still give do I fear God will let me down or am I being just stupid. When the disciples were in fear in Mark 6 Jesus always took care of them when they called out to him. Even though Jesus did not mean to stop and help them fight against the waves he did when they called out to him ! For me, I have found help and calm only when I call out to Jesus. Doesn’t always make the situation better, but it makes the fear go away…….There’s something about calling out to God not only in times of fear and trouble but also in good times and in faith when we seem weak or strong we always need to call on Him.
Seems though I am more prone to fear than strength of faith. Wish that were not the case…