Has this pandemic made you fearful? Are you afraid that you or your loved ones might catch the COVID-19 virus? Are you nervous about even going out in public? Afraid that life will never be quite the same again?
For many of us, the coronavirus crisis has only added to our list of things to fear. As if we didn’t already have enough things to be afraid of!
There are fears common to many of us, such as fear of spiders or snakes, fear of public speaking or fear of falling.
Then there are the more unusual phobias, such as fear of clocks or clowns, balloons or buttons, and even beards. (Full marks to you if you know that triskaidekaphobia means fear of the number thirteen.)
There’s no end of things to be afraid of in this world. But is fear always bad?
No. God gave us the emotion of fear: it’s there to save us from danger.
But we need to differentiate between good fear and bad fear.
Good fear, or healthy fear, is the type that benefits you. Smart fear encourages you to wear your seat belt, to keep well away from the edges of high cliffs, to buy insurance, and not to leave a candle burning unattended. During a pandemic, healthy fear also prompts you to keep six feet away from others and to wash your hands frequently.
Smart fear can save your life, save you or your loved ones from injury or illness, or save you from incurring financial losses. God put this good type of fear into us to protect us: He wants us to be prudent.
Bad fear, on the other hand, is detrimental to you. It causes you to lose sleep, to be on edge emotionally, to lose your appetite or to start having panic attacks. This type of fear rules your life and governs your behaviour. This isn’t what God intended for us.
Over and over in the Bible, we’re told to “fear not.” What God is trying to tell us is to avoid the bad type of fear, the type that shows lack of faith or trust in His ability to protect us and provide for us as believers.
When we’re tempted to fear, we must rely on Scriptural truth:
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
When faced with scary headlines, God doesn’t want us to fear, but rather to put our trust in Him. Psalm 112:7 tells us that those who trust in God “don’t fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.”
Is it possible to keep your equanimity in the midst of tumultuous times? Yes! Isaiah 26:3 says:
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.”
That peace comes from knowing that the same Jesus who died on the Cross for our sins will take care of us through all of life’s trials and tribulations. Jesus said:
“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)
Would you like this sort of peace? Turn to our loving Heavenly Father:
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
God not only delivers us from unhealthy fear, he also replaces it with positive emotions. The psalmist goes on to say:
“Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy.” (Psalm 34:5a)
Peace and joy are available to you in place of fear, thanks to the gracious love of God:
“Perfect love expels all fear.” (1 John 4:18a)
These are indeed difficult times. But fear not! God has us in the palms of His hands!
© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.