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WEEKLY REFLECTIONS

~ Fearing Fear ~


A frequently quoted platitude by a famous statesman is, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." That sounds like a good piece of wisdom, but how do we apply it? Thinking about that more deeply than just nodding the head in agreement uncovers some problems.

If one fears only fear, one still remains in fear's grip. Like being depressed over being depressed, or hating oneself for hating others, fearing fear only cycles oneself deeper into an abyss. As in getting caught in a rip tide or a hydraulic in river white water, one can't swim out of such an abyss, but must go with it and exit through its own flow, its backdoor.

We were born in fear. We may have been happy tiny babies inside our mothers, kicking around, feeling alive and safe. (Baby John the Baptizer kicked with joy in Elizabeth's womb upon hearing the voice of the mother of the Messiah for Whom he was to pave the way. Luke 1:39-44.) But the sudden plunge at birth into unfamiliar light, air, cold and the strange sensation of no amniotic fluid cushioning and blanketing our bodies made us scream and cry.

Children are full of fear -- of being alone, of their first swim in water, of the night, of their own imaginations. Understanding and familiarity alleviates fear. As a child becomes familiar with the dynamics of ocean waves, of what is and isn't in the darkness, of how a bicycle remains upright on two wheels as long as it is moving, fear dissipates into delight. Not fearing the fear allows him to plunge adventurously into new territory, adding experience onto experience in his repertoire of familiarity and understanding. Through spiritual alchemy, that is able to transform into wisdom, a state of spirit far superior to knowledge of the mind.

Knowledge coupled with fear gives birth to war, weapons development, the technology of death, injustice, effective termination of human and natural growth and the inability to hear the voice of the prophet crying in such evil-permeated wilderness.

The Psalms and teachings of Christ are packed with urgings to forsake fear. In the realms of spiritual warfare, recognizing power and adversity is different from fearing them. Confronting the "principalities and powers of darkness in high places" (Ephesians 6) on my own is not only foolish, ignorant and lethal, but should engender fear, not that of God's neglect of me, but of my own ignorance of my puny strength, better labeled weakness. So we are taught, "No warrior escapes by his great strength" (Psalm 33:16), "The Lord is my strength and my song" (Isaiah 12:2), and "God is the strength of my heart" (Psalm 73:26). One of the most beautiful sounds to my ears is a verse from Psalm 91: "Since he knows my name, he will call upon me and I will answer, 'I am with you!'" Have you heard that "I am with you!" reverberating in your spirit?

Fear and lies are powerful means of controlling people. They both originate in the satanic realm and connect us to it when we engage in fear and allow falsehood to fester without naming it for what it is. The descending cycle of fearing fear must be broken by embracing the Way, Truth and Life.

Please reflect upon my transliteration of a poem by John Donne titled, "A Hymn to God the Father":

Will You forgive that sin where I begun,
    Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Will You forgive that sin through which I run,
    And do run still, though still I do deplore?
        When You have done, You have not done,
            For I have more.

Will You forgive that sin which I have won
    Others to sin? and made my sin their door?
Will You forgive that sin which I did shun
    A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
        When You have done, You have not done,
            For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
    My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Yourself, that at my death Your Son
    Shall shine as He shines now and heretofore;
        And, having done that, You have done,
            I fear no more.
 

John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
Spiritual Resource Services
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   in the Christian Faith ~
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Spiritual Resource Services  © August 18, 2005
 

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