This deal tends to get harder, not easier. As we grow and mature, we are faced with challenges that we simply didn’t have to deal with when we were younger. The increasing exposure to aspects of living that we hadn’t previously known also exposes the condition of our soul.
A couple of days ago, I wrote about the crisis we recently faced with my father’s heart. While that situation was acute, we are all faced with stimulus all the time that forces us into uncomfortable circumstances. From my current vantage point, the reactions we get to choose from are narrowed down to just two options. We are either fearful or faithful.
The world hits us with stuff every day that is beyond our control. Control, or more accurately the illusion of control, is our way of attempting to insulate ourselves from hurt. The more stimuli that we can manage, the more we can protect ourselves. The problem is that we simply cannot manage the infinite number of potential disruptions we face.
Lack of control leaves us open to hurt. The potential for hurt produces fear. Fear as a reaction to a threat isn’t necessarily a sin nor a weakness, it can be a valid defense mechanism at its inception. As life comes at you, an initial healthy fear that leads to appropriate action is right and good. It’s when fear grows from useful warning to persistent torment that we have become captive.
What about when there is no control or ability to react? What about when things happen that exceed your ability? What do you do with that fear, then? Left without an option, all that remains is frustration leading to panic.
Unless you step into faith. Faith is the only reasonable antidote to persistent fear. The opposite of fear is not courage as fear is actually required for courage. The opposite of fear is love as perfect love casts out fear. Perfect love is only found in the One that is perfect.
The love of the Father is the only thing that brings relief from fear. Faith is the only access we have to Him and to His love. He is, after all, invisible. Invisible requires faith.
We get to and need to choose between faith and fear all the time. We get to either lean into Him or play defense against a world that doesn’t play fair and never lets up. His love defeats fear every time. Every time we choose His love over the grip of fear, that is.