In the Oxford Dictionary, fear is described as:
As lockdown eases, people continue to be fearful of COVID-19 – if not more so. It seems to me people are fearful of: going back to work, shopping, visiting pubs and restaurants and church, travelling on public transport and getting back to some kind of normality for the future.
Fear can be so powerful it can overwhelm everything that normally rules our life. Fear causes people to throw away their hopes and dreams. Fear builds walls rather than bridges and breeds suspicion. Fear makes us avoid doing what is right and to shy away from challenges or new opportunities.
Some would argue that telling people which side of the road to walk is unhelpful and increases fear in their own judgement in coming out of lockdown and adversely affects their mental health.
According to entrepreneur Luke Johnson in week’s Daily Telegraph ‘Britons are more scared of coronavirus than the rest of the world.’ He goes on to say: “Project fear is the government’s ‘one truly effective policy.'”
When Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 32nd President of the United States on 4 March 1933, he made a famous speech which included those famous words: “…let me assert my firm belief that …”
And whilst that might be true, we often hear people say ‘faith is stronger than fear’. The best way of tackling fear lies in our Christian faith and our relationship with God. Let me offer three suggestions that might help us address this fear that ‘lurks beneath the surface’:
SEEK a right relationship with God.
The really important thing in life is knowing God himself. We need that personal relationship with God that the Bible tells us is only found by putting our faith in Jesus and receiving his Holy Spirit into our lives. That life-changing decision gives us a totally new status: we become children of God. With the power of God within us, we need never fear the powers around us.
SUSTAIN that right relationship with God.
It’s all too easy for our relationship with God to weaken with time. Keep close to Jesus in prayer, worship (online services, perhaps!), read your Bible daily, stay in fellowship with other Christians and ‘keep in step with the Spirit’.
STAND on your relationship with God.
The best defence against fear is to remind yourself who you are in Jesus. Stand firm on such truths as being in the family of God, having the Holy Spirit, being destined for an eternity with God and being loved by a God who keeps his promises: ‘Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise’ (Hebrews 10:23 NLT).
There are 365 ‘Do not be afraid’ verses in the Bible. Here are three:
‘This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’ (Joshua 1:9 NLT)
‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.’ (Isaiah 43:1 NLT)
‘I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.’ (John 14:27 NLT)
And we can go to those Bible verses on fear and use them with confidence of the reality that is ours in Jesus Christ.
God doesn’t want his children defeated by fear. He has told us so.
In concluding let me give you one last Bible verse to ponder:.
That is my prayer for you today.