I’ve had the same conversation three different times with three different people in the last 24 hours: our culture is scared out of its mind, and there’s not much sign that things will soon improve. We’re afraid of terrorists, yet we’re also afraid of long TSA lines. We’re afraid of who will be elected president, and we’re afraid of who won’t be elected president. We’re afraid of vaccinations, yet we’re afraid of viruses. We’re afraid of technology, so we use technology to express our fear (ha!). Etc.
And no, the media doesn’t do much to help. Like throwing 87 octane on the campfire, our fears only fuel the frenzy and the huge ratings. Good gravy, we’re scared. We have access to thousands of news feeds which are all clamoring for our attention, and whoever gets our eyes gets the resulting advertising revenue — and the attention of our souls. We are awash in click-bait, frustrated with ourselves for giving in as our fears push us to the next sensation.
We’re funny creatures. By comparison, dogs have it pretty easy. Ignorance is bliss, and the food shows up in their bowls sometime around 5pm. Things smell neat.
If you do a word study on fear in the bible, you’ll find plenty of mentions about fearing God and even more directives about not fearing anything else. We’re all mixed up in the head, what with our fear of everything else and, by comparison, our passive attention to God. Before you read this as a damming of society where an old man shouts “get off my lawn” from his blog, rest assured that I see the irony in my own soul. When I give authority to fear, I take authority away from the King. And that ain’t good.
Fear doesn’t exhaust itself. Fear is infinite because we are infinite, and our attention to infinity was designed to be on God and not ourselves. Sin, disastrous in its effect on our souls, plays the dirty and ingenious trick of just turning our attention to self. As we pay attention to ourselves, we become more self-absorbed, self-reliant, self-sustaining. When something threatens our structure, we freak out.
If ______ is elected president, I’m going to _________ (insert ridiculous self-protective act that will only lead to a bunch of paperwork.)
We need to ______________ before the _____________ which might take away our ________________ and make it so that _______________.
Meanwhile, God is like “hellooooo?”
We have so much to fear, but the threats that we find ourselves surrounded by are mosquitoes compared to the power, grace, and majesty of God. We have to make the conscious decision to place everything under His feet, since that’s where everything is, anyway. This is an act of worship, surrender, sacrifice. What a great way to get attention off of self. So easy to write, so hard to do. So right for the sake of our souls and for hope — not fear — to be our song.