by David Sisler

Biologists tell us that fear is universal.

We are born, they say, having already experienced fear in our mother’s womb. Common to every human being, they say, is the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. After those two, we learn to be afraid of a great deal more.

There is a woman who is so afraid of water, she wears a life preserver every time she takes a bath.

There is a 35-year-old man who is so afraid of germs, he washes his hands 80 to 100 times a day and flicks all the light switches with his elbows.

One man has so many fears, he carries a cellular telephone just to keep in constant touch with his psychiatrist.

There is a fascinating legend from the Middle Ages. A young farmer was driving his wagon to Constantinople when an old woman asked him for a ride. As she climbed aboard, she said, “I am Cholera. If you let me ride with you, I will only kill five people, and one of them will not be you.”

As a token of good faith, she gave him a magic dagger, the only thing that could kill her.

So he let her ride into the city with him. By nightfall, 120 new deaths were reported. Enraged, the farmer sought the old woman out, and raised the dagger to kill her.

“Stop!” she shouted. “I kept my word. Only five died of cholera. Fear killed the others!”

In 1580, Michel de Montaigne, a French Renaissance writer, said, “The thing I fear most is fear.”

In 1623, English philosopher Francis Bacon, said, “Nothing is terrible except fear itself.”

In 1831, the Duke of Wellington said, “The only thing I am afraid of is fear.”

On September 7, 1851, Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Nothing is so much to be feared as fear.”

On March 4, 1933, in his first inaugural address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

From the legends, experiences, conversations, and writings of men and women from peasants to presidents, one thing is abundantly clear, we are all afraid of being afraid.

There is one source to which we have not yet appealed. It is the book of “Fear Not.” We know that book better by another name – the Bible, God’s Word.

In Genesis, God said, “Fear not for I am with thee, and will bless thee.”

Isaiah declared, “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not.”

The Psalmist said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Paul said, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Fear does have a positive side. Fear of hunger leads to agricultural research. Fear of disease leads to medical research. But the gut-wrenching fear that paralyzes so many of us is anything but positive. The fear that immobilizes so many of us is simply not of God.

When Jesus was born, an angel said, “Fear not! I bring you good news of great joy, which is to all people.” After the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples came to the empty tomb, and an angel said, “Fear not! He is risen.”

David said, “I sought the Lord, and he heard me; and he delivered me from all my fears.”

Inspect your fears in the light of God and his Word.

Is he strong enough to forgive you?

Is he strong enough to uphold you?

Is he strong enough to deliver you, as he did David, and release you, literally, snatch you away from all of your fears?

Did you answer, “Yes?” Then trust him!


Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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