Fear is very much a part of life. It is a God-given emotion. To be afraid is normal. Yet, if fear is out of control, it is the most paralyzing emotion of all. Fear makes a person doubt their abilities and paralyzes the free use of their talents. It brings on “cold feet,” makes one a “chicken,” and eats away at one’s “guts.” Fear causes one to miss a sure two-foot putt, a free throw in the closing seconds of a game, a budding opportunity for financial gain, a friendship that could last a lifetime. Fear motivates one to make more money—“just in case;” to always have the resume out—“you never know;” and to look over one’s shoulder—“you can’t trust anyone.”
In the ancient Greek language, the word for fear meant flight. It’s the picture of pheasants being flushed from their nesting areas and taking flight because they have been frightened by the approaching danger of a hunter. It is the soldier in battle fleeing the enemy when being shot. “Did you hear those bullets?” asked one soldier to another. “Twice,” he said, “once when they went past me and once when I passed them.”
While fear is present when facing much of life’s transitions it does not have to paralyze. Moving to a new community, changing jobs, making new friends, attending a new church can all be fear-producing events. But they don’t have to erode the fulfillment in life.
“Fear not” appears many times in the Bible. God has provided just what is needed to move on and to conquer one’s fear. One faces their fears with fact. God says that we do not have to fear because of the fact that his presence accompanies us through the unpredictable events of life. God states, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom” (Isa. 43:2-3 NIV).
God says that one can face any new situation because he walks with his children. It’s only two words—“fear not”—easier to preach than to practice, but easier to practice with the awareness of God’s presence.