The world is a dangerous place, full of perilous things and unsafe people. Dangers, toils, and snares lurk around every corner because evil is real. As Christians, we understand this because we know how sin and its consequences entered the world.
Many nonreligious or atheistic people do not want to admit that evil exists or that men are sinful. Yet, when terrorists strike or calamity happens, they are quick to speak of “acts of evil” or “evil people.” They have no words of their own to account for the miseries and tragedies in this world; therefore, they must borrow from our biblical worldview. Only Scripture provides a coherent explanation for evil, and God’s Word alone tells us why we are naturally afraid.
We are born with fear, coming into this world crying out for help. Even unborn babies experience intense fear when abortionists tear them apart in the once safe, protected wombs of their mothers. Young children are afraid of the dark and want a nightlight to comfort them. We are afraid not only of the worst catastrophes befalling us and those around us, but we are also afraid of all the comparatively smaller tragedies and hardships that we might experience.
Fear is a primal emotion so powerful that it can wreak havoc on our hearts. The question is, What do we do with our fears? Do we wallow in the mire of fear, act as if we have no fear, attempt to hide our fear, or try to face our fears with sheer tenacity? Or do we turn to the Lord? Only when we turn to the Lord do we hear Him say, “Do not fear.” However, the Lord commands us not to fear not so that we might ignore our fears or overcome them by sheer willpower but because He has promised, “I am with you.” Because the Lord is with us, He has taught us to fear Him alone. All other fears begin to fade away only when we fear the Lord.
Knowing that we are united to Christ by faith alone and indwelt by the Spirit is the difference between being afraid of God and fearing God. It is the difference between being afraid of every possible danger and trusting our sovereign God who will never leave us or forsake us. The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, liberates us to walk in freedom from fear because we have been rescued by the One who holds us in the palm of His hand. That is why we can sing with John Newton, “’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved,” and with Martin Luther, “And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.”