In an imperfect world, fear is beneficial. Fear warns us to avoid the venomous and dangerous creatures that are uncomfortably common in Australia, creatures such as snakes, spiders, crocs and sharks. Fear warns us to avoid potentially unsafe situations such as a cliff ledge on a windy day or a back alley at 2.00am. Fear is a normal human response designed to protect us. It is not necessarily sinful nor the antithesis of faith.
Fear can make a person extra alert and equip them to fight or flee when anticipating or going through a dangerous or risky situation. And we know that Christians are not immune from assaults, attacks, or war. In some countries, Christians are even the target of violent attacks.
Many times throughout his life, people were seeking to kill King David. Sometimes he wisely chose to run and hide, other times he chose to fight. King David knew what it was like to be afraid, but his response was: “Whenever I am afraid I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). King David felt fear, but he also knew his God and had a genuine and deep faith in him. This helped David to remain steadfast and courageous despite real fears.
It is possible to have faith and feel fear at the same time. Even when God has told us to do something, we may feel nervous or fearful when it goes against our usual, comfortable way of seeing and doing things. This is when we have to obey God rather than be persuaded by our feelings, and “do it afraid”. This takes faith-filled courage; courage is going forward despite fear.
Do you feel afraid? Get to know God more. Ignorance of God, and not fear, is the biggest faith-killer. If we have a true appreciation of how immensely powerful and caring God is, and how interested he is in us, our faith is bound to grow.
One of God’s defining traits is his enduring faithfulness. He is faithful and trustworthy. This means that we can confidently put our faith and trust in God, even when we are afraid.
Read Daniel chapter 3 for an inspiring example of faith and courage in the face of death. Read verses 17-18 especially.