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The Fear of the Unknown

There are a lot of great things about the technology that we have access to today. We are able to interact with people in ways that could not even have been imagined a century ago. Instant communication has been amazing for a lot of things. You can talk to your family and friends almost regardless of where they are on the earth. We have a news system that allows events to be known around the world almost as soon as they happen. All this is not without its downsides though. When we are unable to reach a family member via text or phone call as soon as we want to, it can cause anxiety. When we are constantly bombarded with the evil of the world through the news cycle, it can start to seem that those things are everywhere. We start to live in a state of fear. Rather than being afraid of something specific, we begin to be afraid of the possibility. What are we to do about all this?

The Wisdom of Proverbs

We have been going through the book of Proverbs over the last couple of months because it has a lot of practical wisdom for us. This week is no different. The wisdom that it has for us on the subject of anxiety is well worth looking at. Proverbs 3:25 tells us "Do not be afraid of sudden terror." There you have it, a straightforward command to not be afraid of things that happen suddenly. This idea should not come as much of a shock to us. After all, the Bible tells us over and over to fear not. Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear not." Joshua 1:9 states, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:6 says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them." Matthew 6:34 advises, "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow." All of these and more repeat the same idea: do not be afraid of what is going on around you. It is almost as if the Lord understands our nature, that He knows that we are a people who struggle with fear and anxiety. So what is the answer to all this fear?

The rest of the Verse

All of the verses quoted above have another part. Each one of them goes on to say why we should not fear or what we should do instead. I encourage you to look at each of them in their context, but here we will focus on Proverbs. Verse 26 tells us "For the Lord will be your confidence." Why should we not be afraid? Because the Lord is in control. This is an idea repeated over and over throughout scripture. We do not have to fear because the Lord is truly in control. We are told not to fear the world or the things of the world but rather to fear the Lord. He is in control. Nothing happens outside of his will. He is not surprised by evil, and he has already provided us with the answer to evil in his Son. When we delve deeper into the concept of the Lord being our confidence, we find a profound sense of security and peace. This assurance stems from the belief that God's sovereignty extends over all aspects of our lives. Understanding that the Lord is in control can alleviate our anxieties and fears, allowing us to navigate challenges with faith and resilience. Moreover, the notion of fearing the Lord is not about trembling in terror but rather about revering His authority and seeking His guidance. In essence, the message conveyed in Proverbs and other scriptures is a reminder of the unwavering presence of God in our lives.

Rest in Christ

Perhaps the most well-known verse on the subject is part of Paul's letter to the Philippians. Chapter 4 verses 6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." The answer to anxiety and fear is not medication or counseling, although those things may be helpful. The answer is focusing on Christ. Focusing on what he has done already and what he will do in the future. The world around us is dedicated to causing fear in us. Fear makes us easy to control. Fear makes us do things that we would never do. This is nothing new. Throughout the history of the church, fear has been a tool to suppress Christians. In the days of Rome, it looked like death. Christians were told if they did not change they would be burned, crucified, or even fed to beast. By God's grace, we have the examples of many Christian brothers who stood strong and trusted in Christ. They were able to walk in the flames with joy, not worried because they were focused on Christ. Let us follow their example, and especially the example of Christ, to walk boldly into whatever the future holds for us. Christ is in control. Nothing happens outside of his plan and his plan for his people who are called according to his purpose is good.

Soli Deo Gloria

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