Fear Itself

Noah and I were driving in the car the other day when he said to me, “Mommy, you know the bad dreams that I have sometimes? Well, I know what those bad dreams are.” “What are they honey?” I asked, totally intrigued by what he would answer. “Mommy, those bad dreams are just fear. It is just fear trying to get me, it’s not the real thing.”

So profound and so straightforward. How many times do we let fear convince us that it is a genuine threat? How often do we give over our peace, our finances, our future to that fear? Franklin D. Roosevelt said this in his inaugural address as president in 1933, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance..” He said this when America was in the depths of the Great Depression. Poverty was everywhere and yet FDR challenged the nation in saying that the biggest enemy that they faced was fear… not poverty, not economic turmoil, not even war. Fear is a horrible foe and it is the true foe that we are fighting today.

How much is a dollar worth? How much is a euro worth? An ounce of gold? The only real value of anything is perceived value, and when you mix fear into that equation, perceived value can either skyrocket or plummet. We may act in haste because of our fear, or be paralyzed from moving at all. And yet as my little 6 year old boy said, there is nothing real that is harming us. Fear is the true enemy.

I went back and read the entirety of FDR’s address and it is spectacularly appropriate for America today. I wish all of you would go and read it here. It is like he was writing it for this moment in history and not for a moment 75 years ago. Paragraphs like this are eerily accurate to what is happening in the financial community today:
“Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.”

I know we have all heard the saying that “history repeats itself” and that is a comfort, a warning, and a prophecy all at the same time. But to me it is so comforting to know that God has walked through financial turmoil, wars, corruption, and just the worst of humanity over and over again and yet He still loves us, has a plan for our lives, and is optimistic about the future 🙂 God doesn’t fear what tomorrow will bring because no matter what comes, He has a wonderful plan and a destiny for you in tomorrow. Actually, God doesn’t fear at all. No fear, ever. He’s never worried, or anxious. Amazing thought, isn’t it? And yet that is God’s heart for us as well.

Each one of us with our limited vision and dire “prophecies” of how bad the government, economy, corruption is, would have wiped out humanity a long time ago if we were God. Yet, He has seen it all before and what really matters to Him concerning you and your life is that you walk this day with His Spirit, that you get to experience His wonderful love for you and plan for your life, and that you would be a light to those around you, especially in very dark places. And it is in the darkest of night that the light shines the brightest. Even if things should grow very dark in your circumstances, there is still nothing to fear. You just get to shine a brighter light.

I asked Noah after his wonderful insight, “Noah, so how do you get rid of fear?” “I don’t know Mommy,” he replied. “I only figured out that it’s fear.” What a wonderful opportunity to teach my little son about fear. I started telling him about how the Bible says that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” (I John 4:18) and that the reason that we have no fear is that we know how much God loves us. In His love we are safe. We are home and we rest in His perfect love. I went on to describe how God’s love is like being wrapped in bubble wrap, only the strongest bubbles in the whole world. Nothing can get through those bubbles. It was a great illustration for a 6 year old (actually he might have preferred it being a force-field ~ maybe next time) because it gave him a mental picture of the love of God totally surrounding him with nothing being able to get to him. “If nothing can get to you, do you have anything to fear?” I asked. “No.” he answered. “Not anymore. Not if I’m safe in the bubble.”

God’s love is not just an anecdote for children, it is the most powerful weapon that we have in the battle that we fight against fear. If you really know how good your heavenly Father is and how much that he loves you, it is difficult to fear. You will actually have to work at it 🙂 (or just watch extended segments of the news because that will get you back there quickly). So if you are battling with fear today, fill your heart and mind with who God is and what He says about you. Remember His faithfulness. Remember that all of this is not new to Him. He knows the end from the beginning and God has a purpose for your life. That wonderful thought truly erases the fear and gives you the motivation to keep going forward today, no matter what happens in the economy or government.

So I would like to leave you with this verse today from the Amplified Bible, and I pray that this same confidence and boldness will enter your heart and spirit as you read it. I pray that perfect love would cast out all your fear and that you would stand as FDR did in that incredibly momentous speech and say “Thank God my concerns are only material things.” God’s perfect love does cast out all fear, and I pray that you would be more aware of His love for you today than any perceived threat.

“For God Himself has said, ‘I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax My hold on you)!’ Assuredly not! So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:5,6 (the Amplified Bible)