Faith in the Presence of Fear
When I was growing up my family would often visit the Killman Zoo. This Zoo was not your typical attraction or theme park. It seemed to be nothing more than a farmer’s field with some makeshift cages. They were filled with all sorts of exotic animals that seemed so out of place in rural Ontario. Coming face to face with some of these massive jungle cats was a chilling experience. I remember the fear and adrenaline rush I experienced as my body kicked into fight or flight mode. You can probably guess which one I chose… that fight was way out of my weight class.
It is not every day that I come face to face with a jungle cat. However, fear is still very much a real and reoccurring experience. In the last year, our world has seemed to face more fear than I can ever remember. From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have faced unknowns, sickness, isolation, lockdowns and so many more new challenges. The media is a constant onslaught of bad news which no doubt on the worst of days can strike fear in our hearts.
In 2 Timothy 1:7, the Apostle Paul writes, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” This constant cycle of fear is not from God. He longs to give us a sound mind. So how can we overcome fear and exercise faith and trust in the world we live in today? In a simple, one-word answer; faith. Faith is our victory over fear and anxiety. However, I have often heard that fear and faith are two opposite ends of a spectrum. That true faith is the absence of all fear. I believe that faith is choosing to trust an unknown future to a known God, even in the face of fears.
Think back to my encounter with the lions. Our body tells us to run away in the presence of fear and danger. Alternatively, 1 Peter 5:8-9 teaches us to, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith…” We are to resist and fight against the Devil. We must choose to actively push against fears, temptations, anxieties. We must choose faith even in the face of a roaring lion.
If we are to experience victory by faith, there is one thing to remember. Power is not found in the amount of faith, but rather the object of faith. What is it you have placed your faith in? This past year has reminded us that health, routine, success, family, and even life itself are fleeting. Remember what Jesus said to the disciples when they asked why they did not have power to cast out demons? He challenged their lack of faith and told them only a mustard seed of faith was needed to move a mountain! No amount of effort, ability, or trust in their own ability would bring victory. Yet, the smallest bit of faith in God’s would produce mountain moving miracles. Put your faith in the person and the promises of God. In the face of uncertainty, trust the never changing Word of God. In the face of loneliness and isolation, walk with your loving Creator, the friend who sticks closer than a brother. In the face of despair or hopelessness, trust in the promises of a resurrected Saviour and a returning, conquering King. God alone is worthy of our faith.
Take the example of David in Psalm 56. David is on the run from King Saul who wants to kill him. He finds refuge from King Achish in Gath, siding with the enemy of his pursuer. Soon the Philistines discover David’s true identity and he is now in danger from even those who vowed to protect him. Read the first two verses of this Psalm. There is no question that David is afraid. It is here, in the place of fear, where David pens the words found in verses three and four, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Notice that with an admission of his fear, comes an acknowledgement of God. Even in the presence of great danger and fear, David is choosing to put his trust in God. Great peace and refuge is found in the Word and promises of God. David is actively putting his faith in the promises and person of God.
So perhaps you find yourself in a Killman Zoo situation. Face to face with some of the many fears that this past year has brought our way. Remember you are not alone. Choose to put your faith in the promises of God. Read them, memorize them, sing them. Put your life in God’s hands and trust Him. Faith is not the absence of fear. Faith is choosing to trust God even in the very presence of it.
Interested in more?
For more information on this topic, check out our sermon series Dealing with Your Feelings, which addresses managing emotions biblically.