THERE IT IS AGAIN. That nagging in your brain, gnawing in your gut, heightening your emotions and making you want to fight—or run. We’re biologically bred to fear, and it’s not something we can pretend away. But we don’t have to be enslaved to it, to come out swinging or fleeing whenever fear rings the bell.
This generation is awash in fear, and with good reason. Every age has its violence, but this age has turned its genius toward inventing more ways to express it. We mount wars over dwindling resources. Terrorism brings the front of any far-off conflict to local churches, movie theaters, and street marathons. The world economy teeters on a mismanaged financial industry and poorly considered backroom deals. The environment, our vital cocoon, is under assault in every direction.
And of course, we haven’t resolved the more pedestrian forms of violence: racism, sexism, child abuse, domestic abuse, and prejudice based on orientation, class, ability. The volume has ramped up on hate speech all around us. It’s now civil to be uncivil.
All of which is reason to fear. Is there any reason for courage? For people of faith, certainly! The admonition not to be afraid is repeated often in Scripture—because people tended to freak out as regularly in those days as now. Fear is useless, Jesus tells us. What is needed is faith; that is, confidence in God’s faithfulness. When God is for us, as Paul says, who can be against?