Fear is very much natural for the fallen man. Most men fear something or somebody at any given time. Those who claim to be fearless would be more scared inside than others!
We see fear in man for the first time soon after their fall. Gen 3:8. Sin marred their conscience and hurt their relation with God. And that took away the freedom and confidence once they enjoyed.
Result of sin
In Rev 21:8 we see the fearful are the first in the list of sinners to be cast in to the eternal hell. That shows the seriousness of fear and anxiety in the heart of man. It’s not just an outcome of sin, but something that God hates so much.
Work of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ also includes deliverance from all fear. Heb 2:15. God wants His people to be free, strong and courageous having full confidence in Him. That’s why we see the Lord repeatedly says, “Fear not”. Jos 1:7; Matt 10:26; Reve 2:10 etc
Many saints in the past have shown such courageous attitude to life. Psalmist writes often, “Whom shall I fear”; “we will not fear” etc. Psa 27: 1- 3; 46:2
Prone to fear
Nevertheless, there is every possibility for the greatest saint to behave cowardly. Psalmist himself writes later, “Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.” Psalm 55:5. We know the story of Prophet Elijah, Apostle Peter and many others who acted out of fear.
Various scripture portions reveal the ugly effect of such terror in a believer’s life. Once we lose our confidence in the Lord and occupied with horror the result is far reaching. Unbelief, murmuring, complaining, depression, criticism, accusation etc are all by-product of fear. Cf. Num 13: 33; 14:9; 1King 19: 2, 3 etc.
In Mark 4:35 – 40, that is exactly what we see. The apostles were so terrified due to the sudden storm. They lost sight of the greatness of Jesus Christ who was very much with them. They even to forget all His mighty works as well as His teachings. They began to scream and criticize; “Do You not care that we are perishing?" What an allegation against the blessed Lord Jesus Christ. Mark 4: 38c.
He not only rebuked the wind and ordered the waves to be quiet, reprimanded the apostles as well. "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" Mark 4:40. Notice, how much the Lord displeased in their frightened reaction.
Even today there could be many things that can disturb our peace. What we see around the globe today is not very much encouraging. In such a scenario, how to maintain our confidence and overcome the apprehension if any? A study of those ‘fear not’ passages will help us a lot. Let us consider few things:
1. Realize our worth before the Lord. Matt 10: 30, 31.
“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matt 10:30, 31.
We are so precious in the sight of our God. The Lord cares and provides for each one of us much more than what He does for the flowers in the field and birds in the air. Cf. Luke 12:7, 32. Nothing happens in our life without His permission.
2. Recognize the divine work in and through us. Luke 5:10; 12:32.
God has a great plan for us. He is still preparing us towards that goal. So we can be sure that, all what we face today is part of that wonderful work in us and it’s for our own benefit. In one way or other our various experiences are helping us to be molded and shaped as God wants us to be. Rom 8:28
3. Trust that He will do the best at the right time. Mark 5:36. .
After seeing the need of the ruler of the synagogue the Lord said, "Do not be afraid; only believe." Mark 5:36. Once we have brought our burden to the presence of the Lord, we should be free from it. What a contradiction it is to pray on one hand and continue to worry on the other hand. It’s actually illogical and foolishness! Let us cast all our care on Him for He cares for us, and then be free from fear and anxiety. He will do the needful at the appropriate time.
4. Appreciate the greatness of the Lord who is with us. Mark 4:35ff.
One major failure on the part of the disciples was this. They did not fully grasp the glory and potential of the blessed Lord Jesus with whom they were travelling. They were travelling under His command. They could have trusted Him for a safe passage, in spite of what comes along the way.
Yes, it is necessary to make sure that we are in His perfect will and His presence is with us in all that we do. Once that is confirmed we can relax and be confident that He will look in to all the details.
To the discouraged people of Judah in captivity, the Lord says, “fear not, I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine……when you pass through the waters, I will be with you...” Isaiah 43:1, 2. Down through the centuries millions have found confidence from these words. Our Lord is with us even as we go through the roaring rivers or burning fire. He is able to keep us unharmed through any odd circumstances.
In the island of Patmos Apostle John was alone banished by the emperor. As the Lord Jesus appears in His glorified body to strengthen His servant, we hear this voice, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.” Reve 1: 17, 18. The Lord gave number of reasons why John should have no fear at all.
We too can find solace in those truths. He is the first and the last, nothing is outside Him. He is the sovereign God. He was dead and alive. He has experienced the fiercest kind of sufferings. He holds the key etc.
This realization of the glory and greatness of the one who is with us and under whose authority we live can expel all our tensions and worries.
5. Fear our God. Isa 8:12, 13 cf. Psa 112: 1, 7, 8; Pro 14:26.
Finally, the antidote for all that alarms us is to fear the LORD. Judah does not need to dread the enemy nations but need to reverence God. This reverential fear of God is not just trembling before His awesome attributes, but having the consciousness of His very presence ever before us and responding accordingly.
This realization – fear of God – controls our life, prompts us to live holy, take wise decisions and trust Him. It affects every area of our life. That in turn makes us confident and steadfast. Cf. Psa 11:1, 7, 8; Pro. 14:2, 26.
As the days go by we see life becomes more difficult for a believer. In the midst of such uncertainties and terrifying circumstances let us stay cool and confident in the Lord. Whether it is flood, famine or flame, let us stay close to the Lord who called us and be free from terror.