Sunday, December 16, 2007
FEAR. It is a word that catches our attention. In fact, when someone is afraid of something, it is usually termed a phobia. The list of phobias is quite long; from agoraphobia (fear of open spaces or crowds), to necrophobia (fear of death or dead things), to xenophobia (fear of strangers or foreigners). According to the American Psychiatric Association, a phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation. In most cases, the phobia involves a sense of endangerment or a fear of harm.
So a phobia is a fear that has become irrational. We have imagined that this person, or situation, or object can cause us harm or endangerment. And yet, fear itself is not irrational. For example, fear can keep us from just walking up to a snake that could indeed cause us harm; fear could keep us from acting out in a way that is harmful; fear could keep us from getting involved in a relationship that could be hurtful.
Often times, if we choose to face our fear, we find that we are no longer afraid. But even more, we have a place to go to calm our fears, and that place is God. If you were to study the Bible at all, you would see that there is a God who is personal, loving, and present. This God wants us to know that we don't have to fear. As Isaiah 35:4 says to those with fearful hearts: "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you." Also, Isaiah 41:10, " So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
What causes you to fear? It is important to note whether or not these fears are rational, or irrational. But either way, if you give them to the Lord, the Lord will help you to overcome them, and help you to turn them into opportunities for growth and blessing.