Fear

We all learn something about fear as we’re growing up. We have unsound fear; like the darkness or the boogieman. We have protective fear; as in looking both ways before crossing a street or keeping our hands away from a hot stove. Fear is something both healthy and unhealthy.

My Pastor of seventeen years, Gary Rogers defined fear as, False Evidence Appearing Real. In his article, The (Only) 5 Fears We All Share, Dr. Karl Albrecht offers a definition of fear to be an anxious feeling, caused by our anticipation 
of some imagined event or experience. Merriam-Webster defines the noun as, an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger; a feeling of being afraid; a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful.

Let’s think about the descriptive word Merriam-Webster offers, an “unpleasant” emotion. I would say so. My Grandma lived right next door to me when I was growing up. We shared the same driveway. Not too far to walk. Unless it was in the dark! I remember my Mom would hold the door open to watch me walk past our front porch, dart across the driveway where I felt I would be attacked by coyotes (we live in the country, so it seemed to be a rationale fear to me), all the meanwhile Grandma would be standing there waiting for me with her door open. What high maintenance. As badly as I wanted to spend the night with my Grandma, the hop, skip and jump to her house was highly “unpleasant” at night.

We’re familiar with fear. Regardless of psychological research or formal definitions, we understand the feeling of fear.

So what good can come from fear? Scripture tells us the role of fear as one of reverence.

Deuteronomy 13:4 Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.

Psalm 31:19 How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.

Proverbs 1:7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

And the One whom we stand in reverent fear is the One who holds each and every unpleasant emotion, each and every anxious feeling just as He did for our family this past Saturday evening.

The night started with a 25th anniversary celebration for my brother and his wife. A party my sister-in-law had worked to prepare food, decorations, music and fun. It was a beautiful evening. Everything was perfect, except for my brother, who seemed winded, was cool to touch; but said he felt hot, going outside for numerous breaks over the course of the party. Signs of him passing out warranted a call for an ambulance and a ride to the hospital.

As he lay on the couch, awaiting paramedics, surrounded by his family and friends, my husband came to pray over him. Holding his hand, I discretely tried to palpate radial pulses, but couldn’t, nor could I get one post tib. My sister-in-law, also a nurse, was quick to give him aspirin, as we all thought we were observing signs of a heart attack. Thankfully, hours of lab work indicated no MI, but monitoring substantiated the need for cardiac ablation to correct his arrhythmias. The procedure was performed Monday. Unfortunately, we heard words like, “severe conductivity disorder” and “pacemaker” in that post-procedure update. Therefore, my brother at 44 years old went in for a pacemaker Tuesday.

Now. Let’s talk about fear. Of course, you’d see how our family would be scared. But let me tell you a bit more of the story. The one parent my brother and I share, died from heart failure less than two weeks before he was to get an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator. Our Dad’s brother has had similar problems with arrhythmias and so has our first cousin. Do you see the tendency to allow fear to take root?

I suppose it’s my own acknowledgement of the fear welling-up within me, but during our middle of the night visit to my brother in the emergency department, I prayed for him, for answers, for a plan and against fear.

Psalm 34:4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

Psalm 46:2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.

Psalm 112:7 They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

We don’t know what the future holds for any of us. And I understand how fearful we can become when we don’t have the game plan laid out on the table. However, what is trust if it isn’t executed in the midst of something fearful? And…Do we trust God regardless of what the outcome will be? Do we truly believe He is in control of all things? If the answer to those last two questions is “yes,” then there is trust, and there is peace, the absence of fear.

Dr. Albrecht’s article addressed five basic fears. And I believe you can overcome any basic fear with three basic, yet powerful resources.

  1. Get in God’s Word- search His Word and find a scripture to speak out when your mind is tempted to think the worst. And when I say, “speak out,” I mean literally, speak it out. Sometimes we have to hear it. Plus there’s authority in His Word. Your spirit will find strength as you speak His Word.
  2. Pray- He knows your thoughts anyway. Be genuine and authentic and share them with Him. If you’re scared, tell Him; and ask Him to help you overcome your fear, same goes with anger, resentment or disappointment. He created you. He loves you. You’re His child. Share your heart with Him; even the unpleasant parts.
  3. Sing- sometimes we simply don’t have any words. Song can be a powerful tool to connect the emotions of our heart with our Father who loves and cares for us.

In those times we feel we’re running across a dark driveway, completely vulnerable to the elements around us, know that someone is waiting for you with His front door open. You’re running safe into His arms.

My Song These Last Several Days:

Your Great Name ~ Natalie Grant

Lost are saved; find their way; at the sound of Your great name

All condemned; feel no shame, at the sound of Your great name

Every fear; has no place; at the sound of Your great name

The enemy; he has to leave; at the sound of Your great name

Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man

You are high and lifted up; and all the world will praise Your great name

All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of Your great name

Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of Your great name

The fatherless; they find their rest; at the sound of Your great name

Sick are healed; and the dead are raised; at the sound of Your great name

Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man

You are high and lifted up; and all the world will praise Your great name

Redeemer, My Healer, Lord Almighty

My savior, Defender, You are My King

Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man

You are high and lifted up; and all the world will praise Your great name

Songwriters: MICHAEL NEALE, KRISTEN L. NORDHOFF

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With Barry the night before his ablation– the same hospital who took care of my heart almost 27 years ago, now taking care of his.

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2 thoughts on “Fear

  1. Looking back on this particular evening reminds me of a scene from the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life” where Mary is on the phone calling for prayer for George. Then you hear the name, George Bailey being lifted up in prayer by all those people. That night, Barry Cochrane was our George Bailey, as family, friends, & Church family were calling out his name in prayer. As we all know, especially in this family, life does not always turn out wonderful but, one thing is for certain; God is good…ALL the time! I love you, Barry!

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