You don’t have to let fear rule you.
Right, Karen, you say. What kind of secluded life do you live?
Au contraire. I have my moments where fear is a viable option.
Take the time the airplane captain announced we were in for some heavy turbulence while we pushed toward a comfortable cruising altitude. My seatmate, a 30-something-year-old man, spent the next fifteen minutes clenching his fists and swearing under his breath.
Gracious, I thought, does he know something I don’t? A jolt sent my body sideways. I grabbed the seat in front of me so the poor man wouldn’t have the inconvenience of my slung body on top of his to add to his list of woes. “The turbulence was SO bad that . . . .”
I wasn’t afraid.
I really wasn’t. I actually started to hum and no, I wasn’t using humming as a mind redirection. The turbulence was unpleasant. But I wasn’t afraid.
I admit, I’ve been where that young man was – maybe not the swearing but the white-knuckle grip. The terror that my next breath might be filled with fumes and choking smoke as we go down in flames. Yet, as the plane ascended into the power charged clouds, my mind finally connected with why I did not need to fear the turbulence.
It’s because I believe in the God of creation.
Belief in creation is useful for more than college dormitory debates. Creationism does have a practical takeaway. An “if . . . then . . .” component.
Believing in a God of creation is fundamental to my choice to not be afraid.
If God has the power to create an expansive universe, then He has equal power to alter His creation. He made the towering thunderheads. He designed the invisible wind and energy that surges through the hangers of air pockets where our airplane resided. Can I not then believe that He is able to alter the course of nature in order to protect me or keep at bay the power that could rip our man-made airplane to shreds?
If I can’t accept that God is the author of creation, I’ll also ind it difficult to accept His power to alter that creation design and His desire to protect His people from the consequences of the forces of nature. If I buy into evolution theory, I will believe in random chance. I then have to expect that nature will respond randomly as well, with no divine power to control or restrain it. We may get through, we may not. Survival of the fittest and sometimes that doesn’t even matter.
Those who take an old earth view of creation soften God’s ability to command the winds and waves. They turn God into an ineffective God, unable to create or restrain nature at a single command. If God really can’t create a world in six days, how could He possibly abort the force of wind in one second with one word?
Bottom line: If God created the wind and the storms, He can also protect me from the storm’s capacity to harm me. God’s power is still greater than the power He has granted to the storm. That’s because He is in charge. He has both power and authority to direct and use that power as He chooses.
One look at the ocean shows me there is a divine hand at work that allows the waves to go to a certain line in the sand and no further.
Sometimes God allows that line to move, but there is always a restraint, always an inaudible voice that commands, “Stop.”
And so I hung on for the airplane ride. I allowed my body to shift with each downturn. Nothing would happen that God could not restrain. I can’t control the bumps and shifts, but I know who can.
I also trusted the management of my airline. After having two flights cancelled over the course of the last 24 hours because of bad weather, I knew that United Airlines wouldn’t allow this jet to fly if we were truly in any danger. So I trusted the pilot and I trusted my Pilot. And I sat there and hummed.
I must have driven that poor man crazy.
Like you, I once thought a life without fear was a nice goal but would never be mine to claim. Courage is doing what you need to do despite the fear, right? It’s beneficial to have a healthy fear, correct? After all, fear can keep you alive. And the Bible says we should fear God, yes?
What is fear?
Not intending to pull a Bill Clinton on anyone but it’s all in the way you define fear. Fear of God is a respect for what God can do, including the power and authority to condemn any of us to eternal punishment for our rebellion against him. A healthy fear of fire means knowledge of the potential harm fire can cause will propel you to take action to keep that from happening. Respect is not the same as fear. Fear immobilizes you.
At the core of fear is a feeling of helplessness.
What if you cannot take action to protect yourself or those you love from certain danger? Sitting in an airplane rocked by invisible winds proved the extent of my helplessness, for I had no steering wheel in front of me to countermand the skid into uncertainty. Yet fear does not need to reign supreme, for while I am not at the helm, I can trust the One who is.
Stripping fear of its control means that once you have done all you can do, you no longer have anxiety over the danger you might experience. You can sit calmly, knowing that whatever happens, you will be all right. Why? Because you have a God who loves you enough to look out for your best interests. He has promised to protect you, deliver you, walk with you through danger, and bring you to your eternal home.
Chose this day to replace fear with peace.
When you do reach that plateau of peace, you will hum and make the world wonder at your song.