Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
As the inauguration of America’s 46th president approached, the effect of the capitol riots left a lasting impression on many American citizens. Fear was in the air – fear for what could happen, fear for how long it would last, and the concern that the rioting would continue when least expected. The military was sent in to protect the capitol and secure a peaceful transition of power. People were warned to stay at home for their own safety as internet conspiracies took ahold of social media feeds.
America held its breath, and the inauguration took place without major incident. Yet no matter the outcome, it’s important to ask ourselves how much fear has become a part of our everyday lives, and how do we cope with it. There’s nothing wrong with being concerned, for example, with personal safety, but we have to assess where we place our trust.
When Man is Our Fear
In the book of Isaiah, we see an example of misplaced trust with King Ahaz. When fearing invasion from two neighboring regions, King Ahaz decided to trust the King of Assyria, as opposed to relying on God to save the Israelites. Unfortunately, King Ahaz’s decisions resulted in the Israelites being held in captivity.
God’s mercy, however, is not far from those who love Him. He told His prophet Isaiah what would happen, and then gave him a word of advice:
For the Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:
“Do not say, ‘A conspiracy, concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”Isaiah 8:11-13
The concern that God had for the Israelites still holds true today. God’s judgement is to be our fear, and His righteousness is to be our peace. No matter what occurs our how difficult the circumstances, we must remember to actively put God first.
A Message for Us Today
When in trials, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 offers us a word of encouragement:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
It can be difficult to grasp the eternal because we haven’t experienced it. On the other hand, the things we see can be very real to us. The loss of a job, for example, may be temporary – but the immediate need to be able to pay bills is an intense reminder of our current situation. We fear going without or not being able to support our families. That fear can cause us to perform jobs or do tasks that go against our moral values because the consequences of saying no seem too hard to bear.
Some of the greatest human atrocities have stemmed from the fear of taking a stand because we ourselves do not want to be punished. Words go unspoken, even when needed, because we do not want to experience discomfort or retribution. We fear loss, because although we say we believe in the eternal, we can’t imagine how to live in the present. And other times, we fear rejection, and so we do not act.
Human fear is paralyzing and disorienting. It is rooted in sin because it assumes that our dependency should be on self instead of God. The fear of God, however, is much different. It requires respect and humility as we acknowledge how great God is in comparison to who we are. If we practice placing God at the center of our decisions, we will take on His righteousness. His strength will become our strength, and His protection will cover us even on the darkest of days.
Let Him be Your Fear
When the prophet Samuel spoke to the Israelites about their first king, Saul, he said:
Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.First Samuel 12:24
There is a peace and unshakeable strength when we place our hand into God’s hand with the determination that the bond should not be broken. No matter who seems to be in charge on Earth, it is God that is truly in control. It is God’s discernment that will help us understand who to trust and where to go. Gratitude will remind us of who God is, and what He can do. Prayer is how we strengthen our relationship with Him. Forgiveness is how we let go of the darkness inside of us. So let Him be your fear, and in return God will be your light.