“Running scared” might be the best description of how many people are living today. Fear is rapidly becoming one of the most dominant emotions that we express. Present day circumstances really heighten the emotion of fear.
Various pollsters listed some of the things American people fear. 71% suspect there will soon be major terrorist attacks in the U.S. 43% fear they or someone in their family will contract Ebola. 57% worry about being killed in a mass shooting. 69% fear cyber criminals will steal their credit card information. 62% fear hackers will break into their phone or computer and steal sensitive and private information. A huge majority of older citizens fear they won’t have enough money for retirement years.
Andrew Parker, the Britain Security Chief, has recently warned that Al Qaeda is planning “mass casualty attacks against the West.” He goes on to say, “My sharpest concern as Director General of M15 is the growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the decreasing availability of capacities to address it.” Newspapers, television, social media – every day is filled with new threats that would heighten our fear.
Kenneth Benedict, executive director and publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, meeting in Washington D.C. Thursday, January 24, 2015, reported that they are moving the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight. Benedict said, “It is now three minutes to midnight. The probability of global catastrophe is very high. This is about the end of civilization as we know it.”
Do we have more to fear today than in the past? I don’t know the answer to that. One person stated recently that we have so much to fear today that back in the Roosevelt days we didn’t realize how lucky we were – having nothing to fear but fear itself!
The subtle danger of fear is that it appears to be something that it is not. It is deceptive. It is false. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous quote that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” was followed by a description of fear as “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
One acronym for FEAR is False Evidence Against Reality. Fear is not always real, it can be exaggerated. It doesn’t always fit with reality. A Russian proverb says, “Fear has big eyes.” Fear will magnify what it sees – and sometimes will see what is not even there. Mark Twain said, “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m scared of them.”
The answer to fear is faith. There are 365 references in the Bible about fear. I am not real good at math but that comes to about one for every day of the year. Each of those references assures us of God’s love and care for us and the importance of placing our faith in Him. As my friend Jim Sanders signs his letters: Inhale Faith – Exhale Fear.
Psalm 34:4 – “I prayed to the Lord and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” I John 4:4 – “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Isaiah 41:10 – “Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you and hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
Life is a choice – fear or faith – running scared or walking confidently.