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No reason to fear

Feb 8, 2012, 2:04 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

“In God I trust, I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:4

There are diverse reasons for which fear can paralyse and rip us apart, even shredding us to pieces; and yet, come to think of it, there is only one paramount reason why we should be afraid. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) In other words we have good reason to fear God and Him alone.

Fear comes in multiple forms. We fear for our lives when we face imminent danger; we fear for the future, for our careers and what could happen to us when we become less productive –that is, in our old age. We are afraid of dying when we fall seriously ill. When financial crisis hits, we harbour fears of our businesses collapsing or that we would lose our jobs. Somewhere in the closets of our minds lurks an invisible and invincible enemy that reduces us to shuddering like a leaf in the face of adversity.

Do not think that your situation is any different or special from the difficult and hard times some biblical characters went through when they feared for their lives. The widow of Zarephath had lived through a period of severe famine and had contemplated death after she and her son would have consumed their last meal. She told the prophet Elijah: “As surely as the Lord your God lives, I do not have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it - and die.” 1 Kings 17:12. But God had sent the prophet Elijah to minister to her. She and her son would live after her jug of oil was turned into an endless stream.

Hannah feared her barrenness would leave her childless. It became worse when her mate never stopped tormenting her about this daily. Penninah, Hannah’s rival, “kept provoking her in order to irritate her.” 1 Samuel 1:6  

The Children of Israel panicked when they looked behind them and saw the Egyptian army pursuing them, after Pharaoh had granted them freedom. Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, feared that God would discover they had disobeyed the only instruction He had given them. They went into hiding.

Abraham was worried after the child God promised to give him in his old age was not forthcoming twenty-four years after the promise was made. So he and Sarah devised a plan to get a child. Hagar, her Egyptian maidservant, agreed to be the surrogate mother. However, at the appointed time, God fulfilled Abraham’s desire. Sarah bore him a son named Isaac in her old age - in spite of the long wait and the couple’s misplaced worries.

Jesus’ disciples were in a boat crossing the Jordan when suddenly a storm raged and they feared for their lives. Though seasoned fishermen, their experience did not seem to catch up. Jesus however was in the boat sleeping .They woke Him up to express their concern. ‘We are about to drown and you can afford to sleep.’ He got up, rebuked the wind and calm was restored.

The jailer who was charged to watch over Paul and Silas was afraid for his life when at midnight the prison doors flung open after a violent earthquake. Every prisoner’s chain was broken. “The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.” Acts 16.27 Paul assured him; “Don’t harm yourself. We are all here.” He later gave his life to Jesus.

Gideon was given instructions by an angel “to pull down your father’s altar to Baal, (the pagan god) and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.” Judges 6:25. “So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.” Judges 6:27 Gideon could not muster enough courage to execute his assignment under the eyes of his family members; so he opted to execute at night. When it was discovered Gideon was the culprit, his father stuck his neck to defend him. Nothing ensued.

The crowd that gathered when Jesus was being tried by Pilate was stirred up when it appeared He would have set Jesus free at a time when the Jewish authorities wanted Him dead. So they accused Him falsely. “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined Him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against Him. …as you can see He has done nothing to deserve death …. With one voice they cried out’ ‘Away with Him! Release Barabbas to us! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’ ”  Luke 22:13-14,18,21 Jesus was handed over to them because Pilate did not want to get inot trouble with Caesar, the emperor.

The examples abound. A good many of our fears are baseless. We entertain them when the end is not yet in sight. Until the eleventh hour, the dying minutes, a change can take place in our circumstances. Most of our fears are a figment of the imagination, they hardly even materialise. We are afraid - unjustifiably.

Our fears bring Satan on the scene and he begins playing games with our minds to discredit the Lord and His power to do marvels in our lives. We serve a God whose name is El Shaddai, the God that is more than enough. He will not let us down. He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20.

Hannah bore more children: “And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters.” 1 Samuel 2:21 Thereafter her rival ceased to ridicule her. The Egyptian army never made it to the other side of the Red Sea and the fears of the Children of Israel were allayed.

Bury your fears. Trust God’s control for things that are likely to get out of control. Trusting in the Lord God almighty banishes fear.