What is fear?

Howard Partridge likes to say that F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. We fear the unknown, we fear what is different and we fear what we don’t control. 

It is estimated that 25% of Americans fear flying. The fear is that the plane will malfunction and they may die. That is about 80 million people in the US alone. Interestingly enough the total fatalities due to aviation accidents since 1970 is 83,772, total globally. More than 38,000 people die from car accidents every year in the US alone! In the US the CDC lists total cardiovascular related deaths at 650,000 per year and cancer 600,000 per year. Plus another 600,000 in various diseases, plus 83,000 due to diabetes, 55,000 due to pneumonia (interesting) and horribly 47,000 due to suicide every year!! But people fear flying, why? Because they don’t understand it. They don’t have control. It’s unknown to them. Can you imagine what would happen if people feared junk food and lack of exercise?

How about politics? Do you remember a campaign where a candidate only told you what he or she would do for the good of the community, or they spent all their time bad mouthing the other candidate, trying to make you fear the other candidate?

And the news? Do you remember the last time they had the whole news segment only about good things? Like, ever?

Yet we let fear dominate our lives. I can’t think of a better example as right now. We know the chances of dying from Coronavirus are infinitely less than from any of the other causes above. But because there is no “treatment”, we feel we don’t have control over it. And because we don’t control it,  fear takes over.

Are we not forgetting who is in control?

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” Psalm 23:4

Just like darkness is the absence of light (darkness will never be able to overtake light, ever. If you turn on the light in a dark room will darkness revolt and slowly engulf the light, or it simply disappears instantly?), fear is the absence of faith. And the best way to keep our faith is to love God.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The One who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

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