Is Fear a Good Thing?

Yesterday in my seventh grade literature class we had a rousing conversation about fear. One of the students is reading  a book from which he quoted, “Only a fool is not afraid.” Then we discussed whether or not we agreed with this statement. I have wrestled with the deeper issues of this statement in my own life for a long time. And I have come to the conclusion that the primary factor is not fear, but how we respond to fear. It can drive us and control us. We see this kind of fear in the lives of people who cannot even leave their homes for fear of dirt, germs, other people, and a thousand random phobias.  But fear spare us many troubles,  for with greater awareness comes a certain sense of healthy fear that none of us can deny. A child might run into a busy street, completely unafraid, because of his ignorance. However, fear of a gruesome death at the wheels of a semi will cause a more mature individual to look twice before running into the street.

Our class listed the positive results of fear in our lives, and I was intrigued to find, “It produces trust” as one of these. That gave me pause. I have always thought of fear as unbelief, the opposite of trust. That is true, when we allow fear to control us, when we live by the dictates of our flesh because fear is holding us tight in its icy fingers. But what if the fear inside of us, reminds us of our own neediness, our own lack of control over anything of long-term value? Then it can throw us at the feet of Jesus in complete trust that He will do what is good and right.  “What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” Psalms 56:3.   If, when we experience fear, we allow the Spirit of God within us to draw us to a place of rest in His goodness and power, then fear has been used to do a good work in us. It has driven us to God.

Some days I do not know how I can go on living without Joel in the home. But I fear what life will be like when he comes home and we are bound by probation restrictions. Our lives will never be the same. Others will look upon us differently. We have many mountains yet to cross. I look ahead and I am afraid!  The bottom line is I fear the unknown. I can either allow the fear to build resentment and frustration around my heart. Or I can respond by turning to the One who is in ultimate control, knowing that He will take care of us both. At times my response is fleshly. Fear drives me to frustration. God continues to chip away at the flesh though. And He is using my own fears, to propel me to a place of admitting my own incompetence and falling upon His grace.


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