Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thoughts on fear

Like God, blogs where you aren't the only contributor are easy to return to, even if you've
ignored them for a very long time...

And fortunately for all of us, that isn't the real reason I'm posting here.

Yesterday, I more or less participated in a discussion about fears, and at some point it struck me how irrational our fears often are (you might say that fear is an emotion, and so by definition
is not rational, and I guess I'd have to give you that, but hopefully you get what I mean). Fear is a natural reaction to danger; thus if you find yourself in an active minefield, it would make sense for you to be afraid of death or injury by underground explosives. So many of our fears, though, aren't in response to a present danger. Reality is twisted and shadows elongated in our minds until we become scared of all kinds of things that might be, but aren't. And not just things like, "there might be a mine there, because this is a minefield." I mean stuff like "this isn't a minefield, but there might be a mine there..." when of course there is no mine, because you're in the Yukon and no one lays mines there or ever will. Spiders, hot cooking oil, and probably most other phobias don't warrant much worry either. But still, we carry these things around all the time.

Ironically, faith is frequently deemed irrational, a belief in uncertainties, and juxtaposed against reason. This is a misleading dichotomy, though, because in so many instances faith sides with reason, and these oppose fear. This is the formula I tend to see in the Bible. No wonder the most common command in scripture is to not be afraid.

Here is where I would insert an incisive conclusion, but I don't have one yet, so I'll just encourage you to explore the topic yourself. Here's a start:

Hebrews 13:5-6
God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid."

1 comment:

Giancarlo said...

Is it really the most common scripture command? Doesn't surprise me; I just wish I'd known about that on Tuesday night.

One of my faves is from the very end of Matthew, the reminder that "surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."