“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
FEAR VS LOVE
John Lennon believed “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, life and acceptance.”
1 John 4:18 takes these two forces a step further stating, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear; because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”
I’ve been pondering this inherent contradictory connection of fear and love for quite some time. Like the hand of a clock, I keep circling back and thinking through it again and again. As the calendar of 2017 turns its first page, I return to process through fumbling syllables and tangled thoughts bumping along like a swiftly flowing stream.
Fear is an intriguing foe. Invisible yet powerful. Silent yet deafening.
Fear whispers in every language. It is not geographically bound. It crosses political borders and economic boundaries. Fear infects all genders and every race. Like a rampantly spreading virus, almost everything is infected. Is there anywhere in which fear cannot be found?
Despite its far reaching effect, I’ve discovered one segment of our world that is nearly impenetrable to fear: young children. Show me a young child who has been well loved and cared for and I will show you a heart with virtually no fear. Jumping off couches, riding bikes with no hands, licking frozen metal pipes–these are the carefree actions of someone who has not yet suffered pain. Over time these children learn to associate potential pain with actions. Fire may equal burns. Dogs may bite. Cold pipes are never, under any circumstance to be licked. Slowly caution creeps in often followed hard by fear itself.
I want to be fearless. I don’t want to shrink back from what God puts in front of me because it looks scary or hard or the outcome is unknown. How do I face fear rather than succumb to it? What is the difference between unhealthy fear and wise discernment? How do I live without fear in an unstable world? Do I chase safety or dreams?
the fountain of fearlessness is found in faith
I believe that my only route to freedom from fear is through the heart of my Savior. Like the child who is able to jump without fear of falling because his parent has never failed to catch him; my confidence can be equated in equal proportions to my faith.
If I can be known at the deepest, truest level by the One who spoke the world into existence. (Psalm 139)
If I can receive pardon for my imperfections, flaws and sins from this Creator. (Romans 3:23, Romans 5:6)
If I can be received and adopted into God’s family with rejoicing. (Ephesians 1:4-5)
If I am loved perfectly by a perfect God. (Psalm 18:30)
If I cannot earn His favor because it has already been given freely. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Ephesians 3:17-19)
If I can hope in a perfect future beyond this world, because preparations were arranged before my birth through the sacrifice of Jesus’s death on the cross. (John 3:16-17, Romans 8:1)
Than this is the place where I can begin to walk in freedom. Where I can learn about the perfect love that is able to drive out all fear. It is in this sacred space of trust in which my fear can be handed over with trembling fingers.
“Take it,” I whisper.
Only here, where it is surrendered willingly, does my Heavenly Father reach out and receive the fear that I’ve been harboring. With the same power that first brought forth the light and holds back the seas, He takes my fear and hurls it into the darkness where all fears hide. In that place of perfect love, I find security.
That, more than anywhere else, is the place in which I seek to live this year.