Fear or Faith?
I’m going to be more vulnerable today than I want to be. This is because I think this topic demands it. I want to talk about fear—namely, one of my biggest fears. One of my biggest fears, if I’m not careful, can move from fear to dread. It is something that is inevitable. What I fear will happen one day. It may be 20 years from now or it could be tomorrow, but it is coming.
One of my biggest fears in life is losing my parents. God has blessed me with parents who love him and love me. They have been God’s hands and feet to me more times than I can count. They raised me and took care of me. They put up with me when I was going through my rebellious teenage years. They have supported me and cheered me on in all kinds of crazy dreams and aspirations. They are incredible grandparents. They love my wife and I so well. I truly can’t imagine life without them and I honestly dread when that day comes.
We all have fears. It seems the older I get, the more I see the fragility of life, which can lead to more fear. Your fear may be something that’s inevitable or hypothetical, but it is what you do with that fear that matters. What you do with that fear will ultimately be impacted by what you believe about God. This is why our theology matters. Can we trust God with our fears? What should we do with our fear in relation to who he is? Can he even do anything about our fear? We must know him to be able to handle these questions.
I often say that God is sovereign—meaning he is totally in control. Not one thing happens that he is not in control of. Having that level of power could be a very scary thing if it were to fall into the wrong hands. Thankfully, I also know that God is good. That level of power in the right hands could be a great thing. Thankfully, God’s hands are not only the right ones, but the perfect ones.
Knowing that a good and perfect God is totally in control of all of our life circumstances can ease our fears. We can trust that he is in control of tomorrow and what it will bring. He is not only in control, but he is using those circumstances for our good and his glory. It does not mean what we will face will be easy, but it does mean that he will hold us; he will help us persevere to the end.
If you’re someone who is tempted to fear and worry over the hypothetical “what if” situations that may never happen, he’s calling you to let go of those and trust him. This may mean surrendering them to him over and over again telling him, “I know you’re good and in control. I will trust you.” You’ve got to preach this to yourself.
If you’re like me and worry about something that is most likely inevitable then you have to surrender as well. We must remind ourselves of the truths God has given in his word that are meant to comfort and encourage. I continually hang my hat on Romans 8:28 (ESV), “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” If God is working things for my good then I must replace my fear with trust in the One who knows what’s good for me better than I do.
Things don’t take God by surprise. He is not reacting to things that happen and trying to fix the mess we’re making. He is in control. He holds everything in his hands. He is working to achieve his good plans and purposes. We who were his enemies are the beneficiaries of his grace and mercy in sending his Son to die and redeem sinful humanity. If he would give his only Son, can we not trust that he truly is for us? Should we not give him our fears and worries?
God has numbered my parents days as well as mine. He alone knows which of us will be the first to enter into his glory. Knowing him matters. When that fear of the inevitable comes, I must surrender it over and over again to the God I know is good and in control.