Pope Gregory the Great said: "The weight of fear is the anchor of the heart.” I see a lot of fear in a lot of Christian hearts these days. President Franklin D. Roosevelt noted in 1933 that fear paralyzes those who succumb to it. Francis de Sales said, “We must not fear fear.” And John Calvin said, “The inward joy, which faith brings to us, can overcome all fears.” But fear we do and fear seems to be in the air since 9/11. If Christians are not filled with anger and rage, at Congress or at the current President, then they are often filled with fear of the multitude of things that they believe can actually harm them.
The fact is a great deal of what most people fear is based much more on nonstop media hype than on reality. And whether it is the problem of immigration or the threat of crime we all tend to respond to “fear-driven” reports. But consider this list of unsettling threats and their far riskier counterparts:
Murders (2008) 14,180/Suicides 33,289
Children Abducted by Strangers (1999) 115/Children Who Drown in Pools (2006) 288
Burglaries (2007) 2.2 million/Identity Thefts (2005) 8.3 million
Shark Attacks (2009) 28/Dog Bites (Annual Average) 4.5 million
Americans Killed By Terrorists (2008) 33/Americans Who Died from Seasonal Flu (Annual Average) 36,171
Deaths by Allergic Reaction to Peanuts (Annual Average) 50-100/Deaths By Unintentional Poisoning (2006) 27,531
Women Who Die From Breast Cancer (2009) 40,170/Women Who Die from Cardiovascular Disease (2006) 432,709
Fatal Airline Accidents (2005) 321/Fatal Car Crashes (2008) 34, 017
Americans Audited by the IRS (2009) 1.4 million/U.S. Deaths (2007) 2.4 million
Oswald Chambers said: “The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else.”
I don’t know about you but I want to live each day with a proper fear (reverence) of God and less and less fear of all else that can happen to me. Frankly, much of what we fear each day will never happen and the worst that can happen is that I will die, thus the Lord will take me to himself by his grace and mercy. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
Fear weighs on too many Christian souls these days. Make it your decided purpose to address your fear each day with a deeper awareness of divine providence and the assurance of the gospel united with the hope of eternal life.