Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
As near as I can tell, most of us are afraid of something.
Those who work with fear say that over 40 percent of our country's people have glossophobia. Glossophobia, that's fear of speaking in public. Don't have that one? Well, maybe you have acrophobia, fear of heights, or entomophobia, fear of insects.
How we doing? Have we hit your fear yet?
Is it possible you have atephobia or bathophobia or phathophobia? That's fear of financial problems, deep water or disease. Still haven't listed your fear? Maybe your stomach gets all kinds of butterflies when you think of flying or being alone or dogs or riding in a car or being in the dark. Respectively, those have been named: aerophobia, monophobia, cynophobia, ochophobia or nyctophobia.
Still, it is quite possible I haven't named your fear yet. If not, don't breathe too large a sigh of relief.
You might hide your fear from me, or even from those nearest and dearest to you, but you can't hide that fear from yourself. Your fear is there.
Whatever your fear, there are a number of ways you can cope with it. You can let that fear paralyze you, stop you in mid-stride, afraid to move forward or back, or to the side. I've noticed people who deal with their fear in this way do manage to avoid most accidents.
But they also don't make much progress.
Perhaps you deal with fear by pretending it's not there. If that's the case it's easy for your life to become an unending charade where you are constantly wary that your suppressed fear might, somehow, someway, at some time come bubbling to the surface.
Years ago, a circus featured a Bengal tiger act. One night, the trainer went into the cage for his performance. All went well, until the middle of the act, there was a power failure! For two minutes, that trainer was locked in darkness with a cage full of tigers. They could see him, but he couldn't see them.
He managed to survive.
Afterwards, in an interview, when he was asked how he felt, he said, "I just kept cracking my whip and talking to them until the lights came on. They never knew I couldn't see them."
Is that how you deal with the darkness? Do you keep barking orders and cracking your whip? What a sham. You know the truth and how vulnerable you are.
So, what we're trying to say is this: for each of us, fear is real.
This is just one of the reasons we need the Lord Jesus. Twenty centuries ago God's innocent Son came into this world and dedicated His life to the purpose of removing the fear of sin, the devil, and death. This He did by offering up Himself as our Substitute. When His life, death and resurrection were completed, their stranglehold on lost humanity had been broken.
In short, because of Jesus, we no longer had to fear them.
Because of Jesus we can believe the Lord when He assures us, "Fear not, for I am with you. ... I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in Jesus may I be given that peace which surpasses human understanding. May the Holy Spirit remove my fears and grant me joy in Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries