Clergy Corner: Fearless for the New Year
Jan 12, 2011 | 1324 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sometimes, I allow fear to impact my belief system.

The Bible describes God as “an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). However, when I go through difficulties, I often forget that God is “ever-present.” I begin to look at my circumstances instead of my purpose.

The longer I live, the stronger the temptation to be afraid grows. I find it easy to be more fearful for the health and well-being of my children. Yet, I know that fear is, as the adage explains, trading away today’s joy for tomorrow’s uncertain troubles.

Perhaps you worry too much. Did you know that fear and worry may have negative consequences for your physical and emotional health? Worrying that something bad is just around the corner can be detrimental.

Fear, unlike any other emotion can control us. Fear can alter our personalities. When we are afraid of potential threats to our health, finances, and relationships we begin to act irrationally. We deny truth.

The disciples allowed fear to overcome what they knew to be true.

As they sailed on the Sea of Galilee, a storm nearly swamped their boat. As the waves danced up over the bow of the boat, Jesus was taking a nap in the stern. Because of the nature of this type of storm, it was an almost instantaneous threat to their sense of security.

Generally, people go into fight or flight mode when we face acute threats; the disciples were no different.

One of the disciples cried out to Jesus, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus said the equivalent of the word “hush” to the storm.

Without any hesitation, the waters became placid again. No doubt, the disciples breathing returned to normal and their hearts ceased racing.

Jesus asked those ordinary men two questions which resonate with each believer in any context or generation: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)

Fear defies our understanding of God as the all-powerful Creator and Sustainer who loves each of us and has a purpose for our lives. If we believe that God is greater than any difficulty or challenge we may face, we should not be afraid.

In reality, a fear-driven life is usually a self-centered life. When we are too afraid to step outside of our area of comfort, we focus on pleasing ourselves.

Fear is usually represented by the word “if.”

What “if” my marriage does not work out?

“If” I lose my job, I will be destitute.

How can I go on “if” my friends don’t love me anymore?

“If” my house goes into foreclosure then, I will be a failure.

The fear of “if” destroys our peace of mind. “If” creates anxiety instead of hope. “If” paralyzes us and causes us to give up on taking the risks necessary with living a life of purpose and meaning.

The challenge we all face for the New Year is simple: Believe in Jesus and let go of fear. As we do this, we find purpose even amid uncertainty and change.

Chris Crain, Pastor, North Valley Church, Margaret

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