Wait a minute. I thought I parked right by this lamp post. Where’s my car? I walk a little farther. No, that’s not right. I look around. Could it have been a different lamp post? Wait. I was lined up with the entrance to Sears. It has to be here. My heart begins to pound. Could someone have stolen my car?
The thought that my mid-life-crisis-Mustang disappeared fills me with dread. My beautiful car! The pang of loss brings tears to my eyes. How will I get home? When will I get home? The time and inconvenience involved in dealing with police reports, with insurance adjustors. I double tap the remote lock button on my car key. A nearby chirp from behind an SUV alerts me to my Mustang’s location. Relief and joy fill my spirit, releasing the gut-wrenching fear.
I recently read a quote from Michael Jordan: “Fear is an illusion.”
I think Jordan was referring to the role fear plays in professional life, though he may have meant fear in general. My initial reaction to his words was denial. Fear is a reasonable response to adverse circumstances: a flood’s devastation; a terminal medical diagnosis; a loved one in danger. Fear is tangible.
Then I thought about it some more. If fear paralyzes you into inaction, then it truly is an obstacle. But if it spurs you to action, fear dissipates, like smoke or mist, something without substance–an illusion. If you confront the problem, you might encounter resistance and hardship, but the fear response is replaced by purpose.
The phrase “Do not be afraid” appears in the Bible 365 times. Isn’t that an interesting number? It’s as though God wanted to give us a daily reminder that if we trust Him, we have no need to fear. Biblical accounts of angel apparitions often include the spoken words, “Do not be afraid.” Curious—the first human response to seeing a messenger from God is fear, then replaced with joy.
Letting go of fear and trusting God sounds so simple, but I have such a hard time actually doing it. On an intellectual level, I know God will provide what I need. Yet I find myself worrying anyway. What is worry, if not fear of outcome? It is the opposite of trust. Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief. Amen.
How do you deal with fear? Please share your thoughts in the comments.