He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:40 NIV
Fear is an emotion we experience in response to a perceived threat that could be harmful. Like all God-given emotions, fear is morally neutral; it’s not good, bad or purple.
Fear can be protective as it warns us of something that may be dangerous. Imagine you are walking in the woods alone, enjoying the solitude and beauty of God’s creation, when suddenly the peace of the moment is jarred by the sounds of rustling, dry leaves and cracking sticks behind you. Adrenaline is immediately released into your blood stream. Your heart rate jumps, blood pressure increases, pupils dilate and you quickly move to high sense of alertness. Is it a bear? Perhaps it’s a mountain lion? Or is it just a squirrel or a rabbit? This reflex-like response is God-given to protect us. Once the potential threat is identified – oh, it was a squirrel – our fear abates and our physiology returns to normal.
Fear can be paralyzing and destructive causing us not to act if we let fear control us. “Like a deer in the headlights” describes one who is frozen by fear with no response to the on-coming threat. Kingdom leaders can experience extreme fear of the unknown future that seems so foreboding and too difficult or challenging to want to think about. They ‘freeze’ and fail act, hoping that the threat will just go away and leave them alone.
God has no fear, for nothing is a threat to Him! Kingdom leaders have the God knows no fear as One who promises to never leave us – even in the valley of the shadow of death. Note the exhortation from Jesus in the passage above: “Why are you so afraid?” That is, why are you letting your fear control your actions to the point of panic. His response was to point them to faith – faith in Him. He had said we are going to the other side of the lake, not going to the middle and drown!
Kingdom leaders respond with faith when confronting our fears. We acknowledge our fears, but do not let our fears dictate our actions. Rather, we act by faith in God who knows the future, who sovereignly controls the present and is powerfully able to deal with any threat we may face now or then.
Frozen or full of faith? Which are you during these foreboding days?