hammock

I used to view myself as rather intrepid, able to take on what the world was dishing out.  Years of life experience have revealed the naivety and complete error of that position.  In fact, it seems that world and societal conditions have become more fearful every day, whether stemming from destructive weather events, world-wide pandemics, or man’s inhumanity to man.  The truly alarming thing is that these and similar conditions are escalating, not abating.

Jesus warned what the final days would look like.  “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.”  “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”  (Matt 24:7, 10, 12)  Later, through the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul said, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. (2 Tim 3:2-5)  So, it is not only fearful to watch current events, but to know that what was predicted a couple thousand years ago is taking place now.

Most of us have seen, if not experienced, that fear both incapacitates us and prompts us to reactive measures.  And because we are all experiencing alarming situations from individual perspectives, one person’s reaction can trigger another’s fear.  Well-intended people are searching for solutions in science, legislation, and social reform; but only the Truth of scripture presents anything that will go the distance. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

If we are honest with respect to the existence of our personal fear-factors, then we must also admit we are not abiding in the perfect Love of Christ.  The fact is that Jesus’ Love had Him die in our places, and I don’t know anyone who loves his/her enemy enough to do that.  So the very best we can hope to do is approach His likeness and example.  Even that has to come supernaturally through His power and not our efforts.  The good news is that it pleases the heart of God when we depend upon Him – He wants to do that work in us.  Our part is to trust Him and to be willing.

I marvel at the various fearless exploits recorded in the Bible, from Elijah under the threat of death, solo facing an evil king and 850 prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth, to Peter and John who stood before the Sanhedrin (the very same people who crucified Jesus), testifying to these religious leaders regarding their guilt in killing the Creator God.  These Biblical heroes were so filled with the Holy Spirit that there was no thought given to the consequences of their actions.  Because they were aligned and obedient to the heart of God, they were filled, empowered, and protected in the process of being His servants.  Could the miracle of God’s love in us possibly manifest in the same fearlessness?