Rolling out of bed on a few hours of sleep last week, I threw on my workout clothes to head down to the hotel gym for another monotonous treadmill run. Not that I don’t enjoy the feeling of exercise at six in the morning, but there is something that strikes me as odd about running like a lab rat on a stationary device while staring at a TV screen. Anyway, it was much easier than mapping out a running route in another unknown city.
Opening the door, the morning paper greeted me on the floor. “Fear sends stock markets tumbling“. “Really?” I thought. For some weird reason, I thought us as human beings and our highly advanced and intellectual government had something to do with the problem. Of course the people working at the banks and their ridiculous loans caused a little bit of the mess too. I was so happy that USA Today was able to pin down the real cause of the global financial crisis. What a relief the world must have now that we have identified the root of our stock market woes. This person or thing we shall refer to as ‘Fear.’
I couldn’t stop thinking about this throughout my run. Just earlier that week, a co-worker and friend of mine had me take him to the emergency room because he thought he was having a heart attack. I waited at ER for a few hours until he was released with the diagnosis of a simple ‘panic’ attack. This thing called fear crippled my friend in a very physical way, much like it has done to our financial markets across the globe.
I wondered to myself, how we as people can avoid fear in this environment? People are being laid off all around me, huge corporations are going bankrupt, and talks of another great depression are around the corner. There is plenty for room for fear to creep into our lives and cripple our effectiveness as Christians and believers. People yesterday uncovered a plot to assassinate Barak Obama, because some backwoods skinheads feared the possibility of the US electing a black president. Special interest groups all around me are so fearful of homosexuals getting (or not getting) the opportunity to marry each other here in California that they have been slashing tires, and stealing election signs out of front yards. A good friend of mine just pulled all his money out of the bank because he was fearful of losing his money if the bank went under. I have to say that fear is crippling our society, and causing some pretty irrational behavior.
As with everything, I think it is our call to look to scripture as a way to stay grounded in our lives and stand apart from the world. In fact isn’t “Faith” the opposite of “Fear”? Faith that we will all be OK. Faith that God will take care of his children, and faith that the course of history will eventually lead to His victory? How do we have faith? Romans 10:17 tells us “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”
Under this formula, I am posting a few verses this week to meditate on in hopes that this fear will not creep into our lives and call us to some irrational action. I would pray that God will keep us all grounded in his promises, and help us be a ray of hope in this dark time.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.
When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
And my personal favorite in light of the recent political arguments:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.
Please continue to have faith through these times that God is indeed there for his people. Before you cash out your 401K, preach a message of hate, or worry about your future, pray that we will not be moved by this beast called fear.