"Pick A Fear"
March 3, 2012
... and they (the disciples) were frightened. But He (Jesus) said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." John 6:19b-20
The things the devil uses to tempt me may not appeal to you.
Similarly, the things which frighten me may not frighten you.
Having said that, most of us do have things which frighten us, things that create a darkness that tries to snuff out the light the Savior has promised to provide. Now I don't know what your fear is, but I'm pretty sure you're afraid of something.
Those who measure such things say that 40 percent of our country's people have topophobia, which is fear of speaking in public. Is that your fear? Maybe not.
Perhaps you have acrophobia, which is fear of heights, or entomophobia, which is a fear of insects. Is it possible you have atephobia or bathophobia or phathophobia? That's fear of financial problems, deep water or disease. So, what is it that makes you afraid?
Have I listed your fear?
Maybe the thing which causes you to tremble is thanatophobia or aerophobia or monophobia. Maybe it's cynophobia or ochophobia or nyctophobia.
And if you don't know what those fears are, they are, in order: the fear of death, the fear of flying, loneliness, dogs, riding in a car, or the dark. What? I still haven't mentioned your fear?
Don't breathe too large a sigh of relief. You might hide your fear from me or from those nearest and dearest to you, but you can't hide that fear from yourself. Listen, your fear is there. You know it and when it comes, it can leave you shaking and in the darkness of despair.
Whatever your fear, there are a number of ways you can cope with it. You can let the darkness paralyze you, stop you in mid-stride, afraid to move forward or back or to the side. I've noticed that people who deal with the darkness this way do manage to avoid most of the problem. But they also don't make much progress. If you find yourself being so afraid of the darkness you no longer are living, it's time to let the Lord take you through your fear and into His light.
That really is the other way to combat fear. To know the Lord and Savior is by your side can make a difference. He who gave His life upon the cross, who has conquered death and grave, has promised to be with you, to help you, to strengthen you, to lead you through those fears which bring you darkness.
That's something the disciples found out on the Sea of Galilee. When the storm was raging its hardest, when their fears were the highest, that's when Jesus came to them. Jesus came and when He did, He stilled the storms. That's right, the storms. Jesus stilled the storms of their hearts, even as He stilled the storm which blew the waves.
It is something He can do for you -- no matter what your fear.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, the world can be a fearful and intimidating place. When I feel fears and pressures rising up to sweep me away, may I recognize that my reliable anchor is Holy Spirit-given faith in You. May I hold fast to You until the storms of life have been finally stilled. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries