Fear paralyzes progress and limits our human potential, but hope energizes our positive outlook and fills us with joyful anticipation. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Let’s consider some of the things we tend to fear and worry about, as we reflect on God’s Word.
- Fear of Failure and Rejection
Fear of failure and rejection can prevent us from even trying to go down a new path or striving to establish a new relationship. True innovators see failure as a step towards success. I like the story of the origin of the 3M ‘post-it note’. The company 3M was working on a new glue when they discovered they had created an adhesive that was not sticky enough to be useful. The ‘not too sticky’ glue became a major new innovation giving birth to a highly useful product, the post-it-note.
God has plans for each of us and failure is often a stepping-stone that helps us to learn and grow and achieve the goals God intends for us accomplish. So do not fear failure or rejection, but moreover embrace them as learning opportunities.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
- Fear of Suffering and Dying
No one desires suffering and I believe we should strive as a global community to alleviate all the human suffering we can. Sometimes people blame God for their suffering, but God is not to blame for human suffering. I am sad to see people get sick and suffer, especially children. Some people ask ‘Why God?’ when people get sick. This question should be redirected to ourselves.
Human beings are fallible and vulnerable to illnesses and diseases. It seems more and more people are getting cancer. Human immune systems are failing as toxins, pollution and various forms of contamination enter our environment and food supply. I walk down the grocery aisles and wonder ‘why can’t all our food be organic’? Why can our governments not legislate that all food be produced without pesticides, antibiotics and other toxins? When we begin to care more about health than money, human suffering will be reduced.
In South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria millions of people are starving. According to the UN, this is the largest humanitarian food crisis in 70 years. Many call this famine a ‘man-made famine’ brought about through years of war and terrorism as people have been forced to become refugees leaving their homes and farms. U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien says, “We stand at a critical point in history. Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. He said all the regions on the brink of famine have one thing in common: They are conflict zones.” Source: https://www.voanews.com/a/twenty-million-people-four-countries-face-starvation-famine-un-aid-chief-says/3760816.html
Let us pray for God’s wisdom and guidance so we can strive to alleviate hunger and famine, ending the suffering caused by wars and improve the quality of life for all people.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus is Our LORD and Saviour and if we draw near to Him and trust Him and follow Him, our consciences will no longer be burdened and our souls will find a peace that only God can provide. The ‘yoke’ that Jesus wills for us to embrace is His LOVE. If we allow Jesus into our hearts, we will have His Love in us inspiring us and moving us to not fear, only believe that for God all things are possible. Hope in Jesus and let Him work through you. Surrender to Jesus and discover how easy it is to live in a Holy Communion with God.
“I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!” Psalm 119:32
When Jesus comes to live in our hearts, He enlarges our hearts. This intimate, holy communion with Jesus makes it easy to love and be faithful to Him. It is accomplished through God’s power and our surrender.
I used to be afraid of dying but I am not afraid anymore. I know dying is a gateway to eternal life with Jesus, so instead of fearing it, I anticipate the joy and peace and communion with God I will have in eternity and that’s not cause for fear, it’s cause for a peace and joy that surpasses human understanding.
- Fear of Being Alone and Fear of Not Being Forgiven
I had both these fears until I fell in love with Jesus. Years ago I left the business world to look for a new career opportunity. My plan was to repurpose my business and marketing skills and apply them in the humanitarian space. Well I discovered that my plan was not God’s plan for me. Instead God’s plan took me down a path of solitude and spiritual contemplation. For the first time in my life, without a job, I had an opportunity to do something I never did before—learn the Bible. I opened up God’s Holy Word and with the help of many spiritual books and guides (especially Rev. Andrew Murray) I discovered a ‘Secret Garden’. In this ‘Secret Garden’ God taught me slowly and patiently many important divine mysteries. As embraced ‘denial’ Jesus indulged me with His love. As I meditated on His Passion, Jesus opened my heart to the greatest love I had ever experienced.
Jesus had a plan to change my life as He transformed my heart and this took time, years in fact. At first as I embraced silence and solitude and sought to contemplate His Word I struggled and felt lonely and even apprehensive. “Did I make a mistake leaving my job?” I wondered. I was uncomfortable in the silence and I was even afraid that Jesus might not forgive me for all my sins.
Then one day I discovered this Scripture in a pamphlet at a Church. It said: “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17 I realized that fear of not being forgiven by God was irrational as long as I could give God what He truly desired – True Repentance. I also began to experience a special freedom in the silence I had embraced. Instead of feeling lonely, I began to feel a peace that I had never before experienced. I realized I was in a heavenly embrace, the divine embrace of Jesus Christ and as He was teaching me His Word He was opening up a door in my heart that had been closed. We were becoming ONE and there was nothing to fear, I had only peace and joy to experience and anticipate.
The only thing we should fear is not being reconciled to God and losing the gift of eternal life. Those of us that have faith must pray for those that do not yet know and love God. Faith is a privilege and a responsibility and it must bear fruit and give glory to God.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” Psalm 111:10
It is holy to fear offending Our Lord Jesus who suffered so much for our redemption. I invite you to come to the foot of the Cross of Jesus and join the Body of Christ that is stopping every day @ the Time Jesus died for us, 3pm (in our local time zones) to remember the Passion of Christ and pray for all souls. Pray that the Holy Spirit touches the hearts of all people, especially those most in need of God’s mercy. Remember your Saviour Jesus Christ suffering on the Cross for you and He will open and enlarge your heart to love Him and your neighbour as you never imagined possible. Learn more about the peace movement in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ here